Photo/IllutrationPrime Minister Shinzo Abe with invitees at the cherry blossom viewing party in Tokyo’s Shinjuku Ward in April 2019 (Asahi Shimbun file photo)

  • Photo/Illustraion

A constitutional scholar and 12 others filed a criminal complaint against Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, saying the tax-funded cherry blossom viewing parties he has hosted have financially damaged Japan.

The complaint alleging breach of trust was filed at the Tokyo District Public Prosecutors Office on Jan. 14.

It said the prime minister has invited a number of his supporters, people recommended by his wife, Akie, and others associated with the ruling Liberal Democratic Party to these sakura events, causing their budgets to expand and resulting in financial damage to the country.

“We should not overlook the fact he (Abe) appropriated the budget,” Hiroshi Kamiwaki, a professor of the Constitution at Kobe Gakuin University, said at a news conference in Tokyo. “We filed the complaint to make him take responsibility.”

The complaint pointed out that guidelines for the cherry blossom viewing parties state that the number of invitees should be “about 10,000 people.” But the number of invitees has ranged from 15,000 to 18,200 annually since 2015.

Total expenditures for the events over the last five years have exceeded the budget by about 150 million yen ($1.36 million).

The complaint said it was evident that Abe ignored the guidelines for the event and disobeyed his duties.

The parties, held in Tokyo’s Shinjuku Ward, are supposed to honor citizens with remarkable accomplishments in various fields.