Photo/Illutration Prime Minister Shinzo Abe responds to questions at the March 23 Upper House Budget Committee session. (Takeshi Iwashita)

The widow of a Finance Ministry official lashed out at Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Finance Minister Taro Aso for refusing to reinvestigate a document falsification scandal that led to her husband’s suicide.

I heard the Diet responses of Abe and Aso through media reports,” the widow of Toshio Akagi said in a statement through her lawyers on March 23. “I am extremely disappointed and saddened as well as feel so much anger that my body is shaking. I cannot allow the will of my husband to be totally ignored in such a manner.”

She added that she would continue to call for a third-party investigation into the document falsification.

The widow has sued the central government and Nobuhisa Sagawa, a former ministry official, seeking 112 million yen ($1 million) in compensation and answers about who gave the orders for the falsifications and why.

Akagi, an official with the Kinki Local Finance Bureau who killed himself in March 2018, left behind notes that outlined the pressure he and others at the bureau faced to rewrite documents related to the sale of state-owned land in Osaka Prefecture to private school operator Moritomo Gakuen.

At that time, opposition parties said Moritomo Gakuen was given a huge discount for the land because of its close ties to Abe’s wife, Akie.

The Finance Ministry in June 2018 released the results of its investigation into the doctored documents and only pointed out that Sagawa, who was the director-general of the ministry’s Financial Bureau at the time, had set the general direction for the falsifications but that no direct orders or influence of politicians could be found.

The widow said the document falsification began after Abe said in Diet questioning that he would resign as prime minister and a lawmaker if it became clear that he or his wife were involved in the sale of the land to Moritomo Gakuen.

At the Upper House Budget Committee on March 23, opposition party lawmakers peppered Abe with questions about Akagi’s notes, which were released on the same day the lawsuit was filed.

Abe said the notes made no mention of his resignation promise on Feb. 17, 2017, and that they contained no new information that warranted a second investigation.

He added that there “were no inconsistencies” between the ministry’s investigation results and Akagi’s notes and will.

Tetsuro Fukuyama of the opposition Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan suggested setting up a new committee, including officials of a third-party organ, to look into the document falsification.

But Abe said that prosecutors, “the most powerful third-party organ” available, had already concluded their investigation and decided not to indict Sagawa and other Finance Ministry officials on grounds of insufficient evidence.

The widow and her lawyers said they want a third-party committee to investigate because a new probe conducted by only Finance Ministry officials would produce the same vague results.

If matters are left in an ambiguous state, the will of my husband will not be fulfilled,” the widow wrote.

Aso, who is also deputy prime minister, has said earlier in the Diet that a new investigation was unnecessary.

In her statement, Akagi’s widow wrote, “(Abe and Aso) are the ones who should be investigated so I believe they are not in a position to say there is no need for another investigation.”

She also took exception with Aso’s response at the March 23 Upper House Budget Committee that he could not pay his respects to the bereaved family because they were now defendant and plaintiff in a lawsuit.

Even if he does not meet with me, Aso can still visit my husband’s grave at any time and offer his prayers before it,” the widow wrote in her statement.

(This article was written by Takashi Endo and Sachiko Miwa.)