Photo/IllutrationPrime Minister Shinzo Abe prepares to answer a question from Teruhiko Mashiko, secretary-general of the Democratic Party, in an Upper House Budget Committee meeting on March 26. (Takeshi Iwashita)

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on March 26 essentially ruled out having his wife testify in the Diet, saying he has answered all questions about her relations with school operator Moritomo Gakuen.

“I have replied to everything about what my wife said or what she thought,” Abe said in an Upper House Budget Committee meeting in response to questions from Teruhiko Mashiko, a lawmaker of the Democratic Party. “As the responsibility of the prime minister, I have made extremely important replies.”

Opposition parties are demanding that first lady Akie be summoned to the Diet to explain whether her connections to Moritomo Gakuen led to the sharp discount it received when it bought state-owned land in Osaka Prefecture in 2016.

However, with the Abe administration still refusing to summon Akie as a witness, Mashiko proposed that she hold a news conference.

Abe took a negative stance of this suggestion.

“My acts of replying (to questioning in the Diet) entail political responsibilities, unlike my wife’s acts of holding a news conference,” the prime minister said.