|Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga speaks during a meeting of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) infection control headquarters at the prime minister's office in Tokyo, Japan January 22, 2021. (File photo by=Kazuhiro Nogi/Pool via REUTERS)|
[Asia News Communication = Reporter Reakkana] Nine more communications ministry officials have been found to have been treated to expensive meals by a company where the eldest son of Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga works, the ministry said Monday, further widening the scandal that has already brought four senior bureaucrats under scrutiny.
Kyodo reported that out of the 13 officials investigated, an internal probe by the ministry has found that 11 have or are highly likely to have received favors from stakeholders in violation of the National Public Service Ethics Law. They’re expected to be reprimanded as early as Wednesday. The 13 officials are said to have been wined and dined on a combined 39 occasions by Seigo Suga or other members of Tohokushinsha Film Corp., a company that offers satellite broadcasting services for which the ministry issues broadcast licenses, it said.
Of the 39 occasions between July 2016 and December 2020, the probe found 21 were attended by Suga's oldest son. The nine officials newly implicated include Cabinet Public Relations Secretary Makiko Yamada, who was the vice-minister for policy coordination at the ministry. On Monday, Suga apologized at a session of the House of Representatives' Budget Committee, saying, "I feel very sorry that my eldest son was involved and public servants violated their ethics code as a result."