NHK has learned that lawmakers of the main ruling Liberal Democratic Party questioned the Education Ministry about a lecture given by a former vice education minister at a junior high school. The ministry made inquiries to a local education board, sparking concern of interference by the central government.
The ministry asked the education board in central Japan by email to explain the purpose and content of a lecture given last month by former Vice Education Minister Kihei Maekawa.
Maekawa has accused the Prime Minister's Office of favoritism in connection with the approval of a veterinary school operated by Kake Educational Institution, which is run by a close friend of the prime minister.
The ministry says they received an inquiry about Maekawa's lecture before they sent the email.
But the ministry did not disclose who made it, stressing the decision to send the email was their own.
NHK learned the inquiry was made by an Upper House member of the LDP, Masaaki Akaike. He asked the Education Ministry about the content of Maekawa's lecture. Akaike is the head of the LDP's education and science panel.
He was later briefed on the results of the ministry's inquiries to the education board.
Akaike says he has found, through questioning other members, that his deputy at the panel, Lower House member Yoshitaka Ikeda, made similar inquiries to the ministry.
Akaike says he and Ikeda were just checking the implementation of the government's education policy.