TOKIO, JAPAN.- Japan’s Finance Minister Taro Aso has taken a voluntary one-year salary cut after 20 officials were penalized for tampering with documents related to a government property sale linked to the Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s wife.
The Finance Ministry has acknowledged tampering with hundreds of pages of documents related to the 2016 land sale to a school where Akie Abe once held an honorary position.
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Aso apologized Monday over the tampering by lower level officials and resulting damage to public trust, but said Akie Abe was not directly involved.
“I would like to do my best to fulfill my duty as the finance minister,” Aso said. “I am not thinking about resigning.”
Aso is reportedly returning only 1.7 million yen ($15,600) of his annual salary as Cabinet minister, but not giving up his income as lawmaker.
The scandal relates to the sale of government land to a right-wing school operator, Moritomo Gakuen group in Osaka, at one-seventh of its appraised price.