TOKYO: New Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga said Wednesday that he will not hold a state-funded cherry blossom-viewing party next year and later following the cancellation of the event this spring.
“As I took office as prime minister, I’d like to cancel the event next year and later,” Suga told his inaugural press conference.
He noted that the cherry blossom party has drawn criticism as the number of guests grew during the long reign of his predecessor, Shinzo Abe, who was prime minister for nearly eight years until his official resignation on Wednesday.
Last year, Abe came under fire for inviting many of his supporters to the state-funded spring event. In response, Suga, as chief cabinet secretary of the Abe administration, announced the cancellation of this year’s party.
At the press conference, Suga said that he decided to no longer seek funds for the event under the government’s budgets as his administration needs to put efforts into bringing the novel coronavirus epidemic under control.
Meanwhile, Suga sounded negative on launching a reinvestigation into the high-profile scandal over the Finance Ministry’s tampering of documents related to the discount sale of a state land plot to school operator Moritomo Gakuen, which was once linked to Akie Abe, the wife of the former prime minister.
The ministry has conducted a probe on the matter and took action against people involved, Suga said, adding that public prosecutors also carried out their investigation and reached a conclusion.