EDU-JPN:Kake Gakuen Scandal: Maekawa’s Word against Prime Minister Abe’s

Education in Japan (Natalie Collor)

For more than a decade, MEXT has not granted approval for any higher education academic institution’s wish to create a veterinary program with the belief that more programs would create unnecessary competition in the field. Last November, however, Prime Minister Abe approved Kake Gakuen’s request for a veterinary program. Abe, who is publically known to be good friends with the institution’s chairman Kotaro Kake, granted this special permission only to Kake Gakuen and all other institutions were denied their expansion requests.

The documents, including transcripts from the approval meetings, as well as the influence of Prime Minister Abe’s opinion on this matter, hold great weight in this scandal, but MEXT first announced that it could not locate the documents. Soon after this, bureaucrat Kihei Maekawa stated publically that he knew for sure that the documents existed, suggesting that MEXT was hiding something in their inability to produce the documents.

An interesting twist to this scandal involved a Yomiuri Newspaper article outing Kihei Maekawa for going to a risqué bar. For a national newspaper to focus on the personal life of a politician is very rare, and the public may be wondering why such an article was written. Did Yomiuri, a newspaper in support of Prime Minister Abe’s Administration, want to scare off Maekawa and his claims concerning Abe’s statements in the official documents? The public knows so little about the hidden interactions involved in this matter, so the best they can do is speculate.

Upon a second search, MEXT found the documents that Maekawa spoke of. The words of Prime Minister Abe in these transcripts have since been scrutinized by the media and other politicians. Was he overly persuasive in encouraging his inferiors to approve this request for personal gain, or was he so passionate in his speech because he truly believed Kake Gakuen would benefit from the expansion?

While details from this scandal are still being released and the public may never know Abe’s true intentions or motives, there is one alarming implication from this scandal. If the suspicions about Abe’s personal interests in this matter, as well as Yomiuri’s intentional outing of Maekawa are true, Japan would become yet another country whose government leaks private information in order to protect its own interests. Although this is primarily speculation, many Japanese people—even politicians—are in disbelief that such questionable behavior could possibly occur in this country.




コロンビア特別区と18州の司法長官は6日、連邦教育省とデヴォス教育長官を提訴した。オバマ政権下で決定していた、悪質あるいは違法な手法で営利目的大学に勧誘され、質の疑わしい教育や学位のために多額の学生ローンを負うことになった学生を救済するための規則(“the Borrower Defense Rule”)が7月1日付で有効になるはずであったが、これをデヴォス長官が突如延期したのは違法であると司法長官らは訴えている。悪質な勧誘と巨額の学生ローンの被害にあっている学生の多くは、2015年に倒産したコリンシアン・カレッジ(Corinthian Colleges, Inc.)のような営利目的の大学経営チェーンの学生である。オバマ政権が定めた規則は、こうした被害に合った学生が連邦政府ローンを返済できない場合、それを納税者ではなく大学に負わせることや、大学が学生に対し大学を相手取った訴訟を起こさないことを誓約させることを禁止するというものであったが、デヴォス長官はこの規則を改訂するために準備中であるとしている。


EDU-JPN:Moritomo Gakuen Scandal Part 2: The latest developments

Education in Japan (Natalie Collor)

One major development in the Moritomo Gakuen scandal is the loss of official documents. At the beginning of this month, it was revealed that the written documents and digital data from official land purchasing negotiations between Moritomo Gakuen and the government had been destroyed by the Ministry of Finance. Because of this event, the ministry had to update its information systems by the 2nd of this month.

Therefore, NEC, the company entrusted with the ministry’s data and documents has begun its efforts to retrieve them. One worry is that without these documents, getting to the truth of this scandal will become nearly impossible. The Ministry of Finance is requesting that NEC retrieve physical data by July 31st of this year. On the other hand, the opposition party worries that, in its honest efforts to bring back the original data for the sake of this investigation, the public will think they are concealing information and develop a negative view. Therefore, one representative, Mr. Takashi Takai, was hoping for a freeze on the data retrieval, but the Ministry of Finance did not grant his request.

It has also become a court order for Moritomo Gakuen employee computer data to be restored on the belief that today’s technology is so advanced that even if all the data was once deleted, there are ways to retrieve it. The attorney involved in this case believes there is certainly a way to retrieve the data and that this data from the official negotiations is the key to understanding what really happened between Moritomo Gakuen and the government. 

Both the communist and democratic parties want to protect the transparency of this issue, so they jointly submitted a revised record of their national assets to the House of Councilors. Since news of this scandal has come to light, more than four months have passed. However, an accurate explanation of what truly happened and an appropriate resolution for the parties involved are likely still months away.