Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has answered questions from reporters about a dinner meeting his support group held for some of the people invited to a state-funded cherry blossom-viewing party.
Opposition parties are accusing Abe of using taxpayers' money to invite supporters from his constituency to the party. They are also raising questions about the dinner meeting that Abe's support group held on the eve of the party.
The political funds control law requires groups to include fee-paying events in their reports. But the dinner was not mentioned in the report submitted by Abe's support group.
On Monday morning, Abe answered questions from reporters before entering the prime minister's office.
A reporter asked if Abe could explain the matter by producing evidence. Abe reiterated that his personal office and support group did not obtain any revenue from the dinner meeting. He said the participants paid their own travel expenses and accommodation fees directly to travel agencies. He also said his personal office and support group did not issue any receipts for the dinner.
Asked if there is a financial statement showing the total amount of money, Abe replied that there's no such thing.
He added that about 800 people were at the dinner meeting, and many of them are believed to have attended the cherry blossom viewing-party the next day.
Jun Azumi, the Diet affairs chief of the main opposition Constitutional Democratic Party, said Abe's support group is legally required to keep documents on such meetings to include in its funding reports.
He said the group had no intention of doing this and was unaware that the event was part of its activities.
Azumi said the opposition camp should request intensive deliberations on the issue in Diet committees. He said they also plan to look into the matter, find evidence, sort out conflicting points and further grill Abe.