Japan opposition party pushes for answers over leaked official documents

Wrangling continues in Japan's Diet over leaked internal documents of the communications ministry from nearly a decade ago that refer to the interpretation of "political neutrality" stipulated in the Broadcasting Act.

Konishi Hiroyuki of the major opposition Constitutional Democratic Party released the documents last week, saying they were drawn up when the late Abe Shinzo was prime minister. Konishi said the documents show the interpretation of political neutrality stipulated in the law was revised due to pressure from the former Abe administration.

The papers include entries that refer to Takaichi Sanae, who was communications minister at the time and is now Economic Security Minister. An entry says Takaichi discussed the matter with then prime minister Abe over the phone.

The ministry has confirmed that the leaked papers are official documents.

Takaichi has continued to say that the parts that refer to her were fabricated and has indicated she will resign as a lawmaker if the contents prove to be true.

In a session of an Upper House committee on Wednesday, Konishi said it is unlikely that the documents were fabricated and Takaichi should resign.

Takaichi said she will take responsibility if what is written in the documents is a fact, but it is not true.

The current communications minister, Matsumoto Takeaki, said he wants to believe that no one in the ministry would fabricate documents. But he also said the ministry will continue to carefully examine the accuracy of the contents.

The Constitutional Democratic Party plans to grill Takaichi over the matter again in the Diet on Thursday.