Abe Faces More Questions Over Cherry Blossom Party

Abe faces more questions over cherry blossom party

Japan's opposition camp plans to continue grilling Prime Minister Shinzo Abe over his annual cherry blossom-viewing party. They say Abe is using a publicly funded event for his own interests.

Opposition lawmakers at a Lower House plenary session on Tuesday criticized Abe for inviting many supporters from his constituency to the event.

The opposition camp wants a Diet budget committee to hold intensive deliberations to allow lawmakers to directly question the prime minister about the matter.

The Diet affairs chief for the opposition Constitutional Democratic Party, Jun Azumi, says the issue shows the arrogance of the long-running administration. He says the opposition camp must pressure Abe to give a proper explanation.

The ruling camp argues that the event does not pose any problems and has rejected the opposition's demand for an intensive debate.

Liberal Democratic Party Secretary General Toshihiro Nikai says it is only natural for lawmakers to invite people from their constituencies to the party.

But the government also says it will consider reviewing the guidelines for organizing the event. It will discuss whether to provide more information on how the guests are chosen and may decide to reduce the number of invitations.