The former head of an Osaka-based school operator, the central figure in an alleged favoritism scandal, has been released on bail. He says his detention was politically motivated.
Yasunori Kagoike, who ran Moritomo Gakuen, and his wife, Junko, were arrested by prosecutors late last July. They were indicted for allegedly defrauding the government out of subsidies in connection with the construction of a planned elementary school.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Finance Ministry officials have been grilled in the Diet over the heavily discounted sale of state-owned land for the school.
On Friday evening, Kagoike and his wife were released on bail from the Osaka detention center after being held there for nearly 10 months.
They reportedly paid bail of 15 million yen, or about 140,000 dollars.
Kagoike told reporters that his physical strength has weakened so much in the past 10 months that he can barely move around.
He said he believes the couple's detention was part of a government plot, and his wife was arrested for unjust accusations that trampled on her human rights.
Kagoike then read out a statement, apologizing to teachers and the parents of children at the kindergarten he used to run for the trouble caused by the land sale scandal.
He declined to speak about the case for which he and his wife have been indicted, as they are preparing for a court trial.
He also declined to comment on the ongoing Diet debates on the case, saying he has been isolated from society for 10 months.
Kagoike then referred to the falsification and discarding of documents on the land deal.
He said the Finance Ministry may be still falsifying public documents that should never be tampered with. Kagoike said the officials have betrayed the Japanese people by their actions.