by Mari Yamaguchi, AP

TOKYO — Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe donated 1 million yen (US$9,000) through his wife for a school run by ultranationalist educators, the group’s leader told Parliament on Thursday, while also suggesting a land-buying scandal involving the school had “political influence” behind it. In his sworn testimony in Parliament, Yasunori Kagoike, said Akie Abe handed him the cash in an envelope on behalf of her husband during her September 2015 visit to Kagoike’s kindergarten in Osaka. Abe has denied such a donation took place, but it would have been legal under Japanese law because Osaka is not Abe’s own electoral constituency, which is in Yamaguchi in southern Japan. Still, Abe and his wife’s ties to Kagoike have raised questions due to his extreme views on history and derogatory expressions about Chinese and Koreans, and the land-buying scandal involving the school has eroded Abe’s support in opinion polls. Kagoike’s school is known for a curriculum that is seen as resembling that of pre-World War II militaristic Japan.

Kagoike said he is revealing the truth about Abe. He said both Abes have ke pt close ties to him and Akie has exchanged dozens of text messages with his wife despite the scandal. Abe has denys any influence in the sale of state property to Kagoike at 134 million yen (US$1.2 million), one-seventh of its appraised price.