Land and transport minister Kazuyoshi Akaba says his ministry may release its nominated guest list for the annual cherry blossom viewing party hosted by the prime minister.
Akaba told reporters on Tuesday that the ministry has kept its nominated guest lists from the past 10 years. He said it plans to release them if requested, although personal information must be handled carefully.
Akaba said his ministry nominates people who've won medals of honor, ministry awards and distinguished achievements in various fields.
He said they are chosen in line with a request made by the Cabinet Office, which organizes the party.
The Cabinet Office faced criticism after it said it had discarded the guest list for this year's cherry blossom viewing party.
Opposition lawmakers accused Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of inviting too many of his local supporters to the event, which is funded by taxpayers.
Transport minister Akaba acknowledged that two or three of his own local supporters may have been invited to the event each year, by nomination of his private office.