Since last year there’s been a huge controversy in the Diet over the way official documents are handled by ministries. This is happening at a point in which the Prime Minister himself is suspected of being involved in scandals. In response to questions from opposition parties government officials from respective ministries have claimed that the relevant documents have been deleted or lost. Even after these documents were found, they have consistently avoided making any clear statements about the scandal. During the Lockheed scandal in 1976, the person who revealed a link between the Lockheed company and the former Japanese Prime Minister TANAKA Kakuei, was summoned to testify before the Diet. Any false statement would constitute a criminal offence. So, he avoided telling the truth by repeating the phrase, “I have no memory of that.” This time a key official repeated the phrase “As far as I remember” before his remarks. A few decades ago the American detective drama “Columbo” was broadcast on TV; the show was also very popular in Japan. In this series the culprit is revealed at the start and eventually confesses after driving themselves into a corner with their own web of lies. In this current scandal too, most citizens are aware of who is behind it all. People are watching closely to see whether the opposition party playing the part of Columbo will be able to catch the government officials out with their own vague explanations, or whether they are being unfairly persecuted.
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