Japan Finance Minister Aso likely to skip G20 meeting

Deutsche Bank’s Torsten Slok discusses the U.S. February jobs

"What is important is to make everything clear", he said.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said on Tuesday that Japan wanted to see a resolution to the issue of past abductions of Japanese citizens from talks with North Korea and that North Korea must match its words with actions.

The government's admission Monday that documents linked to a controversial land sale had been altered in a possible cover-up added fuel to a scandal that has long dogged Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, threatening his once-unassailable standing in the ruling party.

And question that's bothering the public: Did the government sold land to the school management at cheap price due to their connections to Abe's wife? "Please go ahead." The land had been slated for construction of a new school in Osaka, Japan's third-largest city.

His resignation followed the death of a finance ministry official involved in the land sale, who is believed to have committed suicide last week, although it's unclear if there's a direct link.

Aso said the documents were altered at the instruction of some officials in the financial bureau apparently to make them consistent with what Sagawa said at parliament.

Abe has repeatedly denied he or his wife did favors for school operator Moritomo Gakuen, which bought the land in question, and has said he would resign if evidence were found that they had. Abe has campaigned to inject patriotism into schools: during his first term as prime minister in 2006 the law was revised to include nurturing "love of country" as an educational goal. The head of the National Tax Agency, Nobuhisa Sagawa, who was in charge of overseeing the sale, has also quit.

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The controversy had faded but erupted again when media reported that official documents about the deal had been changed, prompting the Ministry of Finance to release to parliament 14 documents that showed various changes. It is "inconceivable" that bureaucrats had been acting in accordance with Abe's wishes, he said. "We have to take it not only as an administrative issue, but as one that affects all politics".

"Doctoring public documents is an act that shakes the foundation of democracy", said the Asahi Shimbun.

The alterations "cause a loss of trust in the administration", said Natsuo Yamaguchi, head of the LDP's junior coalition partner, Komeito.

Polls have shown Abe's popularity declining as media reports suggested that document tampering had taken place.

Eight out of 10 voters said the government was not responding appropriately to the allegations, according to the survey conducted over the weekend among 1,036 voters. As a safe haven currency, the yen tends to strengthen as a response to rising political risks.

"The political authority or prestige of the Abe administration will decrease drastically because of this scandal", said Jiro Yamaguchi, a professor of political science at Hosei University in Tokyo. On the trade front, it must deal with U.S. President Donald Trump's protectionist policies.

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