Discord Over Sworn Or Unsworn Witnesses

Discord over sworn or unsworn witnesses

Japan's ruling Liberal Democratic Party has proposed summoning unsworn witnesses to the Diet to testify about a controversy involving a veterinary school project. But opposition parties are calling for sworn witnesses to testify.

The Diet affairs chiefs of the LDP and the opposition Constitutional Democratic Party met on Monday to discuss the issue of the newly opened veterinary school in Ehime Prefecture. The school is run by the Kake Educational Institution, which is headed by one of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's close friends.

The LDP Diet affairs chief, Hiroshi Moriyama, proposed that the issue be taken up on April 23rd at a Lower House committee meeting in the morning, and at an Upper House committee meeting in the afternoon.

Moriyama also proposed that unsworn witnesses speak before the committees. Among the proposed witnesses are Tadao Yanase, who was a secretary to the Prime Minister, and Yutaka Fujiwara, who was in charge of regional revitalization at the Cabinet Office.

Their names appear in a recently discovered document, which outlines exchanges that took place when officials from Ehime Prefecture and the school operator visited the Prime Minister's office in 2015.

The Constitutional Democratic Party Diet affairs chief, Kiyomi Tsujimoto, disagreed with the proposal to have unsworn witnesses testify. She said testimony under oath is necessary to get the truth out.

Tsujimoto later met with her counterparts from the other opposition parties.

They agreed to continue to demand that sworn witnesses testify, as Yanase has already spoken before the Diet as an unsworn witness.

Unsworn witnesses are not punished for what they say in the Diet.