Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Tuesday once again denied that he had discussed plans at an earlier date than previously admitted for a veterinary school to be opened in western Japan.
The Japanese leader's latest denial is central to a protracted cronyism scandal and comes as newly found internal documents were submitted to the Diet about the school that opened in April in Imabari city in Ehime Prefecture, a special deregulated zone in western Japan.
The newly opened school is run by Kotaro Kake, a close friend of Abe, with the newly found documents presented to the Diet a day earlier by the governor of Ehime Prefecture detailing a meeting between Abe and Kake on the school project taking place on Feb. 25, 2015.
Abe had previously maintained that he came to know of the project on Jan. 20, 2017, when the project was approved by a government economic panel.
"The prime minister's office records were checked yesterday, just to be sure," Abe was quoted as telling a press briefing on the matter.
Abe, however, maintained that no proof of a meeting between himself and Kake was found.
The Japanese leader has found himself in hot water regarding multiple cronyism scandals, with opposition parties now demanding that the scandal be covered by both houses of the Diet as Abe's latest denial has raised doubts about the credibility of his latest and previous statements.