October 19, 2017

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Yasunori Kagoike holds Press Conference at the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Japan

スクリーンショット 2017-03-26 23.45.47

Below is the transcript of the press conference by Yasunori Kagoike, a president of Moritomo Gakuen on the evening of March 23th, 2017. The press conference started at around 6:20 pm. The underlined parts were not translated into English by the FCCJ, and they have been translated by Japanese Perspective. The youtube video of this press conference is titled “Yasunori Kagoike: Moritomo Gakuen President.”

Moderator: Good evening and welcome to the FCCJ. I’m the moderator tonight, Andy Sharp. Trying to keep this brief because there is a lot to get through. At the moment, Prime Minister Abe is facing the possibly the biggest crisis of his premiership, and at the heart of his crisis is this evening’s guest, Yasunori Kagoike. The president of Moritomo Gakuen, an educational group that runs a kindergarten in Osaka around which allegations of impropriety around the real estate deal and donations are swelling. Without going too deep into the allegations, I’d like on behalf of the FCCJ to thank Kagoike-san for coming to the FCCJ to speak after spending the entire day in parliament taking questions. OK.

Moderator: In parliament today under oath, he told lawmakers that Akie Abe personally handed him an envelope containing one million yen in cash on September 15th visit to a kindergarten adding that she told me it was from Shinzo Abe.

Moderator: In response to this Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga, today reiterated his previous denials saying that, “Akie did not make the donation, so Abe did not make the donation himself nor did he make a donation through Akie through his office or a third party.”

Moderator: So these are a number of statements that Mr. Kagoike made today in parliament, one thing I would like to remind to tell you is that originally we are going to hand out three documents from Kagoike-san. Now this is just one document which is a fax from the secretary of Akie Abe to the President, Mr. Kagoike.

Moderator: One of the documents contained a personal phone number, so some of you may have received this, but we retracted the documents, and please if you saw this phone number please ignore this, and do not attempt to use this.

Moderator: Anyway just introducing people alongside me, we have of course Mr. Kagoike’s lawyers, Ms. Mayuko Nakamori, Moriue Ogiue, and Takashi Yamaguchi. Also the interpreters today, Matt Douglas and Mary Joyce. To my left, the club president, Khaldon Azhari. Anyway without further adieu, I would like to invite Kagoike-san to make a short address of about 10 minutes and then take questions.

Kagoike: Today as you know I gave a testimony at both upper and lower houses and many members of the Parliament from both from the ruling party and opposition parties asked me many questions. I tried to answer these questions as sincerely as possible, but there are some lapses in my memory. That’s something that I must admit.

Kagoike: This came to light on the 8th of February of this year, and it’s been around a month and half since everything took off.

Kagoike: This is all surrounding a school which is located in Toyonaka on the outskirts of Osaka and for the past a month and half and this so-called incident has been on the news and throughout all the media.

Kagoike: I think that the majority of the Japanese people looking at this situation see that is very tense, and it’s very difficult to see the light and the reality of what’s going on of these situation. So, today I would like to as much as possible clarify what is going on.

Kagoike: In other words who knows what’s been happening.

Kagoike: So first of all, I would like to go over the content what I spoke about at the Diet today.

Kagoike: First of all what I said is thank you very much the Diet for giving me an opportunity to speak today.

Kagoike: As a person who is trying to advance the education of children for the country of Japan, I had hoped to open a new school called the Mizuho no Kuni Memorial elementary school this April.

Kagoike: Through as an educator, I would like to thank all of the people who have supported me and giving me understanding with regards to this including the Prime Minister, Mrs. Abe Akie and also the politicians of the Osaka prefectural government.

Kagoike: However, because of some of the many expectations that I had with regards to this, there were some problems. As a result of that there were procedural irregularities and because of the advice that I got from the design companies, there was the incident of having three different contracts with different prices.

Kagoike: There were some other concerns to do with the education, the way we educated the children at that place.

Kagoike: For those things that I did not do well, I express my sincere regret and I would like to apologize.

Kagoike: I would like to improve the situation with the advice of the administration.

Kagoike: However, because of many suspicions surrounding the application for the accreditation of the school, due to the advice of my lawyers, I withdrew this application.

Kagoike: There are many people who have been supporting me in this, and it has been a bit very disappointing situation, and now wondering why it is that we had to come to this point.

Kagoike: Today I would like to give you a frank account of the background to this situation.

Kagoike: I still have a dream to be able to build a elementary school in order to educate the children of the future leaders of this wonderful country.

Kagoike: The naming of this school was something that is related to the Meiji Restoration and an educational institution that educated many of the people who were at the forefront of that restoration.

Kagoike: I had hoped to be able to show my appreciation to Prime Minister Abe who is incidentally from Yamaguchi Prefecture, the former Choshu domain by calling this school the Abe Shinzo Memorial Elementary School.

Kagoike: I thought that I had run this by the Prime Minister’s wife, Mrs. Akie Abe, but unfortunately she later contacted me to say that that was not the case, so I changed the naming of the school to Mizuho no Kuni Memorial Elementary School.

Kagoike:I had thought that Mrs. Abe had a deep understanding of our educational philosophies.

Kagoike: Mrs. Abe came to the Moritomo Gakuen three times and had a study, tour of all facilities.

Kagoike: She was appointed as the honorary principal of the Mizuho no Kuni School on the 5th of September on 2015 when she came to give a speech.

Kagoike: On that day, the 5th of September, she came into the my office and it was used as a waiting room and I met her personally there.

Kagoike: It was then that she asked the person who was with her to leave the room. She apologized that she was all by herself then she said that this one hundred, excuse me, one million yen in an envelope was from her husband, Abe Shinzo.

Kagoike: She says that she does not recollect this at all, but for myself it was great honor, and so I remember it clearly.

Kagoike: Also I have … when it comes to the establishment of the school, also I was very honored and cannot forget the support that I received from the late Mr. Hata a member of the Osaka Prefectural Assembly.  He was also one of the board of members of the Moritomo Gakuen. He was a great help to us.

Kagoike: I understand that Mr. Hata was quite close to the father of the current governor of Osaka, Mr. Matsui, and I had a great deal of support behind the scenes setting up the Ishin Party a few years ago.

Kagoike: I also would like to thank him for his support in helping to have that school approved through the processes in Osaka prefecture.

Kagoike: I am not sure of the exact exchange that happened in this process.

Kagoike: I hope that Governor Matsui and the Diet will look into the details of the situation.

Kagoike: I would like to hear from Governor Matsui about this.

Kagoike: Next I would like to talk about the land deal.

Kagoike: I first learnt of this land that is in Toyonaka from a real estate agent in Hesei 25 which is four years ago.

Kagoike: I was very impressed with this land, and thought that it would be perfect for a school.

Kagoike: This was a nationally owned piece of land, and so on the 29th of May 2013, there I made a contract for a set period of time to lease this land.

Kagoike: At the time, the period of the lease was for 10 years, but I had hoped to extend the period of that lease to a longer time frame, and so I asked for the assistance of Mrs. Akie Abe to who I thought was very understanding of our philosophies to help with that extension of the lease period.

Kagoike: I rang her mobile phone in October of that year 2015. She did not answer, so I left a message.

Kagoike: Sometime after that I received a message from Tani Saeko who is Mrs. Abe’s secretary. She told me that it was probably quite difficult for her to help out.

Kagoike: I received a fax on the 17th of November in 2015 saying, “unfortunately we cannot comply with your requests.”

Kagoike: She also had said that she had reported this to Mrs. Abe, to the first lady, and I was very grateful for them.

Kagoike: I do not know what was happening within the Ministry of Finance at this time.

Kagoike: I would like you to please ask Mrs. Abe also Ms. Tani and the Ministry of Finance for an explanation of these matters.

Kagoike: It was clear in the contract that there was no such thing as lead or other dangerous materials on the land that we were using.

Kagoike: However, once construction began in March of 2016, it became clear that there was  household waste buried beneath the land.

Kagoike: We had already removed the lead from the land and it was after this point that we discovered that there was household waste there.

Kagoike: It was at this point that  we were referred to a lawyer by the construction company who were engaged in an negotiation on our behalf.

Kagoike: It was after this that the price of the land was discounted by around 800 million yen down to 130 million yen,  a discount rate that surprised me.

Kagoike: It was this point that we entered into a contract to purchase the land.

Kagoike: I am not party to the details of this negotiation, so I would ask that you please ask for clarification from the Kinki Finance Bureau, the head of which was Mr. Sakota I believe at the time and also the lawyer, Mr. Sakai.

Kagoike: The other day I withdrew my application for the accreditation of the school.

Kagoike: This was done on the advice of my lawyer Sakai and it was the very difficult decision for me to make.

Kagoike: But this did not improve the situation at all. Quite the contrary; things have got much more difficult by then and I have been painted as the bad person in this situation.

Kagoike: It was around this time that Mr. Shimada who was part of the, excuse me, the Finance Department of Ministry of Finance who told me that it would be best for me to lie low for around for 10 days. I thought this was a very unusual request.

Kagoike:It was on the 15th of March this year that my lawyer, Mr. Sakai, quit. I was not exactly sure why  he did so.

Kagoike: I hope that you can please ask Mr. Sakai what relationship he may have had with the Kinki Finance Bureau and also to ask at the Diet about these relations.

Kagoike: As questions were being raised about these issues in the Diet, my wife received a text message (an SMS) from Mrs. Abe.

Kagoike: The content of the mail was that I understand that you and your husband must be in a very difficult situation but I also want you to realize that my husband, Mr. Abe is also being placed in a very difficult situation.

Kagoike: The mail I believe was intended to gag us, to impose silence upon us so that it seemed there was no it seems that there is no involvement of the first lady in these matters. I’m sorry, an email rather than SMS.

Kagoike: Even though Prime Minister Abe and his wife had given messages to us about how much they are looking forward to opening of this school which they were in agreement with our educational philosophies and they were impressed by the passion of these teachers. I don’t know why now that they are quite angry about the fact and changed their opinion.  

Kagoike: We had tried to educate our children as much as we can, I thought we were contributing actively. And I am not exactly sure why they changed their attitude midway.

Kagoike: All I was focused upon was setting up an elementary school that was dedicated to my philosophy.

Kagoike: And along this way, maybe I tried a little bit too much.

Kagoike: However having asked for the assistance of Mrs. Abe and also Mr. Hata I cannot say what actions they took after that to on my behalf.

Kagoike: I think that I should not be used as a scapegoat for other people to escape their responsibility for the series of events which led to the discount on this land, and so my ability for me to speak honestly at the Diet was something that I value.

Kagoike: I hope that you will invite other people who are involved in these matters to give a testimony at the Diet in order to get to the bottom of these matters.

Kagoike: This was my statement that I made at the Diet today. I think the most important thing to do is to get to the truth of the matter.

Kagoike: We had got to the situation where the school was accredited almost approved for opening, but now we are in a situation where it cannot be opened and I am very disappointed at this.

Kagoike: We are experiencing a very strange atmosphere and powers at work behind the scenes. I’m not quite sure about what they are and I think we should get to the bottom of this to make it clear what has gone on. 

Kagoike: OK. That’s pretty much everything from me. So that they don’t become hikikomori.

Kagoike:I would like just to say one more word about the bank transfer slip that I discussed in the Diet today. This transfer slip was stopped. The use of this was stopped in 2014. Heisei number 26.

Kagoike: Mr. Kagoike is not sure exactly what his employees did with all of these forms.

Kagoike: At time a large number of these bank transfer slips were in circulation and what happened to them after that point I cannot be sure.

Kagoike: There is a time lag in place.

Takashi Yamaguchi (Kagoike’s bilingual lawyer): I just want to explain all the materials that has been handed out. I’m sure that it’s a double sided copy. The one with the cellphone number was on the first page, and it was stapled together on the upper left-hand side.

You can see on this fax dated on the 17th of November that it was sent by Ms. Tani who is a person that was given to the first lady’s office as a personal secretary.  He is a staff member of METI originally.

Yamaguchi: She.

Interpreter. I’m sorry. She.

Kagoike: I think this has moved things forward quite a lot.  It’s an extemely important fax.

Moderator: OK. We will move on to the questions from Questions and Answers now. Mr. Kagoike kindly agreed to extend press conference for about 30 minutes or so. I see a lot of hands going up, so I apologize to anyone in advance who don’t get to answer the question. As usual working press first for the questions. Let me start with Richard come to this side.

38:46-

Richard Lloyd Parry (The Times): Thank you. Richard Lloyd Parry, The Times. If what you are telling is true, then it seems fairly clear that Prime Minister’s wife, if not the prime minister himself, are lying about quite serious matters. Now you have said that makes you angry. Do you think the Prime Minister should resign for doing that? My other question is in your testimony in the Diet today, there was a reference to the divine wind, the kamikaze, which you have said in the past you felt that benefitted you after Mrs. Abe became the supporter of your school. Could you tell us in more detail about the kamikaze? What did it for you?

Kagoike: Let me answer the second question first. I do believe that there was an extremely fast Divine wind that was blowing after I make….

Kagoike: Right now I feel that I’m experiencing the blowback from that the Divine Wind.

Kagoike: I’m not sure if this divine wind will slow down, and become more a breeze or they will continue as it is.

Kagoike: Now I would like to move to the first question about whether or not if I, what I said, is true then the Prime Minister and his wife may       be lying. I would like firstly say that we should not lie.

Kagoike: I also would like to say that I like Prime Minister Abe.

Kagoike:  He’s in my opinion doing a wonderful job.

Kagoike: Now I don’t know which way the winds are going to blow. Only God knows that.

Richard: So you don’t think he should resign?

Kagoike: That question really makes my…It’s a very painful question for me. I believe that is something for him to decide.

42:58-

Thank you. David McNeill for The Economist. Just follow up question on Richard’s question. You say that you received money from Prime Minister Abe and he and his wife say that you didn’t. Can you tell everybody why you think I should believe you and not them?

Kagoike: It was not just myself who was involved in this receiving of one the million yen. I told my employees immediately after receiving it so there are other people who are aware of it.

My name is Stefano Carrer, Italian Economic Daily, IL Sole 24-Ore. I think sometimes Japanese is a missing country. Because for us foreigners, it’s hard to believe Fukushima accident TEPCO not being condemned but not even indicted, so as far as we know you bought a piece of land of state at much less value than the commercial value. So in my country, you already should be under investigation, under criminal investigation. I guess o my question is  do you fear to be put, how much do you fear to be under criminal investigation? Thanks.

Kagoike: It’s very difficult for me to talk about this.

Kagoike: I’m not thinking about legal action.

Kagoike: You mentioned the fact that I was able to buy the land at the discounted price, but there was a large amount of household waste, some of which still in the ground that needed to be removed.

Kagoike: We had to remove this garbage and replace it with a clean soil.

Also there has been other household waste which come out after of which we had needed to deal with our own money .  

So when I think about the discount of 700 or 800 million yen. It is not something that is out of bounds of reality. It took a lot of money to take out the household waste which was inside in the land to replace with a good soil. So I don’t think it was inappropriate to have that discount of that much of money.

It is not myself that decided how much the discount that was the decision made by the central government.

Moderator: Three questions from gentlemen, so we’ll go from ladies now.  You, and yourself and the lady with glasses there.

49:02-

Li Miao from Hong Kong Phoenix TV: Let me translate that into English. First of all, I’m from Hong Kong Phoenix, and I would like to ask you about the educational policy of Tsukamoto Elementary School. I believe that there was some video of the 2005 Sports Carnival at that school where the children were  asked to do an oath in which they said some things about Korea and China saying that they hoped those two countries would stop saying bad things about Japan and stop telling lies history without lies to your evidence to the Diet that you hoped these children will be the leaders of a future real Japan. Do you think it is appropriate for these children to be asked to say such words in oath and also if you were teaching anything about Korea and China at Tsukamoto Kindergarten, I would like you to tell me about that content of that education.

Kagoike: I think when you are referring to the Sports Day the matter surrounding  that perhaps you are referring to the invasion of the maritime space around the Senkaku islands by Chinese ships and also matters regarding the sovereignty of Takeshima between Japan and Korea. Also the matters with the comfort women statue now when it comes to Japanese history, did Japanese people do bad things? Japanese people are human beings too. So, there are good things possible what the question is..is Japanese people somehow fundamentally, is human nature fundamentally good or not.

Kagoike: The future leaders of our country, the children, must be taught the truth and I feel that the current education in the textbooks are biased. We need to teach them the truth.

Kagoike: I believe that it is important to give a correct education to children to small that is something reflected in what  happened at the Sports Day.

Kagoike: I also believe that we should teach our children about the deep history and the mythology about our country.

Li Miao: Is there anything that you specifically teach about Koreans and Chinese about that school and kindergarten?

Kagoike: When you say China you are referring to the People’s Republic of China, the country that has invaded the territorial waters around the Senkaku islands? This is an action, an analogist to robbers entering somebody else’s home.

Kagoike: The issues surrounding territory are extremely important, and if you do not say something about these matters, we may be invaded.

Kagoike: Japanese people are very kind race of people and they would like to be on good terms with everyone, but it’s important to call out things that are bad, and to teach children to understand the difference otherwise when they grow up, they cannot make judgements for themselves.

Kagoike: What the Japanese national government is thinking is the perhaps the opposite of that.

Kagoike: The opposite of the Peoples’ Republic of China.

(Interpreter asks Kagoike to rephrase the statement.)

Kagoike: I think that the opinion of the Chinese people is the complete opposite of what Japanese people think and that’s to some extent understandable. They say that these islands are their own property, but this is I believe groundless claim not based on any historical fact, so this may be unavoidable the Chinese government trying to bring unity to the country. But, it’s not something that I agree with, and the same could be said for Japan in reverse.
59:51-01:00:44

Hello. My name is Watanabe. I’m from NHK. NHK World. HKW. Excuse me. There are many issues at the moment about the abdication of the emperor. The Cabinet is now considering these very weighty issues would like to think about them very carefully. But this is very important time and there are many different issues. You have brought to political sphere, a sense of… You have brought a scandal to the situation. So if you are true conservative, why are you bringing such gimmicks to imperial education to fore if you are true conservatism, surely these things would be helpful and it’s not in the best interest of the country to be distracting the Prime Minister and his wife like this.

01:01:28ー01:02: 05

Kagoike: With regards to the Emperor, I would like to say that I don’t think there is a great relationship between him and the imperial rescript on education. It is something to do with moral education. It was something that was set up by the Meiji Emperor. I think now it’s something that is useful for the moral education of children and also as an ethical code in which adults can abide by. There is media reporting to say that it is somehow linked to militarism, but I do not think that is the case.

1:02:57-1:03:28

Kagoike: With regards to conservatism, I would like to say that I am definitely conservatism. It’s not just accepting things as they are of course. I think what is good, we should say what is good and what is bad we should say is bad. The people of Japan have many hopes and expectations for the Prime Minister, but within, having said that I think we should be sure to look into what is going on in the internal imaginations of the government. That’s something if we would not do, would cause problems for the Japanese population.

Moderator: Lady with glasses here please. Trying to get around to everybody if I can.

1:03:36−1:04:01

Hello. Motoko Rich from The New York Times. Thank you so much for taking my question. I’m a little bit confused with about what you are exactly saying about Abe-san and his wife and the administration. It seems very clear that you are saying that they donated money to you, but you say things like powers behind the scene and divine wind. Are you actually accusing Prime Minister Abe of somehow giving you favourable treatment with the discounted land?

1:05:01-1:05:07

Kagoike: I believe that perhaps Prime Minister Abe or his wife, perhaps were reading between the lines. There was sort of mutual understanding between us.

1:05:25-1:05:35

Kagoike: However now that the wind is blowing in the opposite direction. I believe that perhaps there are others who are reading between the lines in the other direction. Making inferences in the other direction.

1:05:49-1:05:56

Kagoike: So in other words, I believe that there are people who have given negative information to Prime Minister Abe.

Motoko Rich: Can you be more clear by answering you were on the political favors?

Kagoike: I don’t think there was direct influence from Prime Minister Abe.

1:06:31-1:06:42

Kagoike:  I think that he…there was a surmise…he read between the lines about what… There was a…excuse me.

Takashi Yamaguchi (Kagoike’s bilingual lawyer):  I think he is just missing a couple of words.

Interpreter(Matt Douglas): Yeah.

Yamaguchi: When he says sontaku, that means that was done by people around him, and not by Abe. Sontaku is not the word you use by yourself. When he says sontaku, probably people around or people who are underlings of Abe.

Interpreter (Matt Douglas): May be your heard what he has just said. Perhaps that it was not Abe himself who was involved in these influence but the people around him, his underlings.

Another Interpreter (Mary Joyce):  The word, is sontaku leading confusion in English translation.  There are several different ways to say this whether it is conjecture, surmise, reading between the lines. Reading what someone is implying. So there is no direct word in English which is why led to this. Just to add some information.

Interpreter (Matt Douglas): Thank you sorry about that.

1:07:55-1:08:07

Kagoike: Now that the political winds are blowing in the opposite direction. I believe that Prime Minister Abe has changed his mind, and other people around him have led him in that direction.

Richard Lloyd Parry from The Times: So can you name the people who did that for you? Who are the people causing Abe to drop favourable treatment for you?

Kagoike: I believe that those people would be the bureaucrats in the Ministry of Finance.

Kagoike: Several bureaucrats.

Moderator: OK. Terry-san. Then we will go to…Pio and Anthony.

Terry Jimbo VIDEO NEWS: I’m Terry Jimbo. I’m going to ask the questions in Japanese.

1:10:17- 1:11:08

My name is Terry Jimbo from VIDEO NEWS. There are many things you spoke today about in the testimony at the Diet. And the reason that you were asked to come to give testimony, a sworn testimony at the Diet is because of your statement saying that you received one million yen from Prime Minister Abe through his wife. It’s very difficult for private citizens such as yourself to go through such an experience in the both upper and lower houses. There were times today when the speakers made sure that you understood that you were under oath. If you were to lie under oath, then you were up for perjury charges, so I would like you to make some comments about that. And after four hours, over four hours of testimony at the Diet, I would like you to reflect upon what was the purpose? What was the meaning of this whole process?

1:11:45-1:11:44

Kagoike: As a private citizen, I think it’s quite an unusual case to be called on to give sworn testimony at the Diet. This is also the case for unsworn testimony as well, but  being asked to do so under oath is as if they were saying to me “you should not lie.” So and if I were to lie under oath, then I would be up for perjury charges and put into prison, so I feel  there were some pressure being put upon me.  

1:12:52-1:13:17

Kagoike: Because I was under oath today, and there were problems to do with potential perjury charges. There were times when I had to not to answer some questions in order to avoid incriminating myself. This was broadcasted of course on TV. And the impression was given that I was trying to hide something. I believe that this was a type of manipulation on the part of media.

1:13:50-1:14:11

Kagoike: One of the reasons that I was called to give sworn testimony today was it is said that I insulted the honor of the Prime Minister. What country brings people to the Parliament, to account for insulting the Prime Minister? That seems really something that has chilling effects upon my statements.

Moderator: OK. The gentleman in the black shirt there. Then we will come down to Pio. I will make a selection from this table.

1:15:14-1:15:48

Hello. My name is Nanao from Nico Nico News. I would like to ask about two points regarding the testimony that you gave at the Diet today. One of the first of which relates to a statement on your website, a former statement on your website that said that the emperor had visited Tsukamoto School, I would like to know specifically for what purpose you put upon your website, and the second point is have in anytime in the past have you made statements in speeches in an effect that the emperor had visited Tsukamoto kindergarten.

1:17:16-1:18:18

Kagoike: With regards to the photo that was on our website showing a picture of our children at Tsukamoto kindergarten giving flowers to the emperor, I can confirm that those are definitely students of Tsukamoto Kindergarten. However, it is not a picture of those people at Tsukamoto Elementary School. Excuse me. Tsukamoto Kindergarten.

Kagoike: I have never said in any speech, that the emperor visited, directly visited, Tsukamoto kindergarten.  However, unfortunately in a book, or maybe in a magazine an editor made a mistake and wrote that the emperor visited the kindergarten. That was something that came to light after the Diet, after the press conference, and was something that was on amended on our homepage. I was unable to, I am unable to check everything on our home page. But  things that come to my attention, I would be very happy to change.

Nanao: Who put that on the homepage, the website?

1:19:20-1:19:48

Kagoike: When it comes to this question, I think that it was probably one of my employees or perhaps somebody at the company which established the homepage, the website on our behalf. That’s all I’m going to say now. When it comes to the emperor and his desire to abdicate and become a retired emperor, known as joko, that I think is a very beautiful and heart-warming story.

1:21:18-

Kagoike: Many questions surrounding the sale of the national lands I believe has there has been a lot of hysteria around these situation and we’re being targeted by people. I think it’s a scandalous, malicious, rivalrous situation where there are many videos and photos out there and I feel like we are being attacked. Maybe even our lives are in danger. I think perhaps for example in the United Kingdom, this type of reporting, is perhaps this type of press treatment is not so unusual, but in Japan maybe it’s not so much the case. And also when it comes to the imperial family and the statements that  I and other people at Moritomo Gakuen have made respect we have towards the institution is often mistakenly connected to militarism. But that is not the case. I think this imperial family is the most important tradition and I would like those people who criticise us for the respect we showed to the imperial family to refrain from doing so.   

Kagoike: There is also been reporting that we are engaging in hate speech  and even abuse of our children at the kindergarten. With this being something that has attacked a lot in media, but I would like to stress that there is no such thing as abuse at our institutions. With regards to that the head of the Parent Teacher Association, PTA is actually a zainichi person. I believe a zainichi Korean Japanese person, so there is no reason for us it’s obvious we are not a hateful organization.

1:24:38

Kagoike: Osaka is a particularly mixed area with a lot of diversity and I think it’s important to include that in our education. It matters of course culture co-exist in a place, but as long as people are living in I think they should comply with Japanese culture, and to learn about the Japanese spirit. I think that is also entirely reasonable.

1:25:09-

Also wouldn’t you say that if a parent was not in agreement with our school’s philosophy that they will not put their children in that school?

1:25: 32-

Despite having reservations about the educational philosophy of our school, some parents have put their children into our educational facilities and maybe the purpose for that was to cause a trouble.

Moderator: OK. Pio-san. I think it would be good as well if you keep the question more focused on the current scandal so that we can try to get a better understanding of the situation.

Pio d’Emilia from Italian Sky Television: Pio d’Emilia. I will try my best.  Pio d’Emilia from Italy Sky Television.  I have two questions. One is about your philosophical teaching system. I don’t know what your background is. Usually I expect that a school master should have a background. I don’t know yours, but I wonder if among many choices that you may have had before establishing your school. Did you research about different ways of schooling. For example, don’t you think that in such a world where nationalism is picking up again in a very nasty way.

Would it be better in Japan to establish another Montessori school? Have you ever heard the word, Montessori? OK. The second one is more Japanese domestic oriented because as you know I’ve been in Japan for a long time and I know that when the scandal starts, it may go you know like piranas…it may count up.  In this moment, the main object is Mr. Abe. But, in order to have a good relationship and good power in Osaka especially in Kansai. You need to have a very big jinmyaku. Very big like a tako you know. I wonder if you can just answer yes or no on this very question. Did you have any relationship? If yes. Did you ask something to help Mr. Okushita Takemitsu who was the personal secretary to a former mayor Hashimoto. Just yes or no. I don’t want to tell you what he may have helped you. Just If you know him and if he helped you.

1:30:48

Kagoike: With regards to Mr. Okushita, there was no…he was not involved in anyway.

Pio d’Emilia: Do you know him?

Kagoike: I do know Mr. Okushita.

Kagoike: I know him.

1:31:17

Kagoike: I feel that the institution that overturned our school is actually Ishin no Kai, a political party based in Osaka.

Kagoike: I believe that the responsible person is the top of that party.

Kagoike: That’s my understanding. That’s my belief.

1:32:16-

Kagoike: Of course I have heard of Montessori education style and I agree with its philosophy of teaching children in a way that is appropriate to children. But for Japan, I believe that it’s important we conduct education with regards to patriotism. Compared to other countries I believe the level of patriotism in Japan is low, so there is a need for us to properly educate children in patriotism. It is not an overly patriotic way, but a very, just a right amount of patriotism.

Moderator: OK. We have to wrap up the press conference there. I’m afraid time is up.

1:33:36-

Kagoike: I would like to in closing make one final comment about something that I gave a testimony about in the Diet today regarding the bank transfer form that was used to put the money in the bank account from Prime Minister Abe.  

Yamaguchi: No. No. No. That’s not. The interpreter is confused. You are talking about the different bank form…

Interpreter: I’m sorry.

Intrepreter: What kind of forms were they?

Kagoike: Donation forms.

Intepreter: My apologies. Let me explain.

Kagoike: I was talking about a bank transfer form for donations to the Abe Shinzo Memorial Elementary School. There were questions given to me today at the Diet about from when until when were these donation forms in use and I made a mistake in the testimony that I gave at the Diet today and I would like to amend that statement here.

1:35:23-

Kagoike: When giving a testimony at the Diet, we are not allowed to take any materials in with us, so I had to answer from my own memory.

Kagoike: So, I was a little confused when giving a testimony today, so I would like to take this opportunity to correct the record.

1:36:35-

Kagoike: This bank transfer form for donations to the Abe Shinzo Memorial Elementary School was printed in March of 2014. Soon after that I received  word from Mrs. Akie Abe that this was not acceptable and so I stopped the use of this form.

1:37-

Kagoike: I was able to stop the use of this form in a short period of time but unfortunately I have sent a large number of these bank transfer forms to some other people who then forwarded them onto third parties, so I was unable to completely stop the use of these forms being out in the world.

Kagoike: So, the bank transfer forms that went to third parties is one issue, but there were some small numbers of bank transfer forms that remained behind at our kindergarten and it is possible that some of those were used after this point in time where I stopped… asked for them to stop being used.

1:39:9-

Kagoike: For example, say I had sent 100 of these bank transfer forms to person A, it’s very unlikely that they would send all those hundred forms out to their connections maybe ten here ten there over a period of time. So it’s quite possible to these forms were sent in maybe April or June or even July.

Kagoike: But, the kindergarten did put a stop to that. It’s something that we did immediately.

Moderator: OK. We…unless Kagoike-san has something more to say,  we have to stop the press conference there.

Moderator: OK. This is the very very last question, and then we have to stop this press conference.

1:41: -1:41:35

Freelance Journalist Takeuchi: Thank you very much. I’m freelance, Takeuchi. My question is about your friendships with Mrs. Akie Abe. I believe that you in some sense you made some requests about. Do you think that she would  have done something on your behalf for her directly or would she have asked Prime Minister Abe himself to act on your behalf? Do you think that in other words do you think that Mrs. Akie Abe has any power?  

Kagoike: I’ve never thought that Mrs. Akie Abe on her own would be able to move things alone.

Kagoike: She was appointed the honorary principal of our school because she understood our educational philosophies.

Kagoike: However, if you refer to this piece of paper in my hand, here this fax, it does state that in the first lady’s name. There were some things that were progressing. It’s not something that I can say for certain. It is a conjecture that I’m making based upon the contents of this fax. But after this the deal regarding the purchase of the land, somehow moved along more smoothly than before.

Kagoike: The question is whether or not this moving along of the process of bad things and other or not or if there were some back channels that were used.

(Kagoike used the Japanese word, sontaku when he made this comment. )

Yamaguchi: Why don’t you use the word,  sontaku? (Yamaguchi says this to the interpreter David Douglas.)

The second interpreter Mary Joyce: Yeah.

Kagoike: Maybe there was this reverse sontaku, a reverse version of lots of things moving along in the other direction.

Kagoike: You have to remember that the school was almost complete. It was finalized and these children who were to enter the school had also been decided. And it was this point that the rug was pulled out from under our feet.

Kagoike: This is deleterious both economically and also for the education of children.

Kagoike: At this point the former national land then go back to the Ministry of Finance and become the national land again.

Kagoike: So the bureaucrats were involved in perhaps background deals when it comes to these matters.

Kagoike: So after this blowback started I believe the people around the Prime Minister including some of those people involved in the Ishin no Kai political party tried to move things back to how they were before this all began.

Kagoike: And what’s left now is that we are left to hold the can and it’s us who have been, who are left like looking like fools.

Kagoike: This land will go back to the ownership of the country. The Ministry of Finance will take control of this land.

Moderator: OK.  We have to finish the press conference now. Apologies to everyone who I couldn’t get to, there were many many hands up, maybe forty or fifty hands.

Ryusaku Tanaka:  Principal, were there any higher powers threatening you?

Moderator: I said no more questions, thank you.

Kagoike: Today I was threatened.

Moderator: Audience could you please remain seated while Kagoike-san goes out of  the room.

Moderator : Oh. Yes, and before I forget.

The moderator gives the one year honorary membership card to Kagoike, and Kagoike says thank you to the moderator.

The End of the Press Conference.

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