Majority believe Japan PM bears some responsibility for altered documents

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The opposition cites Abe's assertion in the Diet in February 2017 that he would "resign as both prime minister and as a lawmaker if either my wife or I are found to have been involved in arranging or approving the sale". His support has fallen as low as 30% from 44% last month.

But 66.1 percent of respondents to a poll conducted by Kyodo news agency on Saturday and Sunday said they felt the premier had some responsibility for the altered documents.

He is unlikely to throw his long-time political ally and confidante Finance Minister Taro Aso under the bus after revelations last week that his ministry's Financial Bureau had tampered with 14 documents related to a dubious land deal for nationalist school educator Moritomo Gakuen.

He also said passages citing Akie and other lawmakers made up "only a portion" of the documents and that they were deleted nearly completely in the doctored version, suggesting that it was not the case that particular consideration was paid to him or his wife. It also turned out that Abe's wife visited several times a kindergarten belonging to Moritomo Gakuen.

He added that discussions over the price were never held between officials of the Finance Ministry and Moritomo Gakuen.

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"She is the wife of the prime minister, someone that ministry officials need to give more consideration to than the average Diet member", Koike said during the Upper House session.

The Finance Ministry confirmed last week that changes were made to 14 documents before the revised versions were disclosed to lawmakers a year ago.

As per certain media reports, Akie Abe had facilitated Kagoike to purchase the land illegally at a lower price thus inviting charges under cronyism which includes partially awarding jobs and other political advantages to the relatives.

Referring to the poisoning of a former Russian spy in Britain, Abe told Putin that the use of chemical weapons was not acceptable.

Abe on Monday accepted the blame for the scandal which involved the tampering of certain official documents.

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Opposing sworn testimony by Sagawa also risks backlash against the LDP and its leadership.

But Jiro Yamaguchi, a politics professor at Hosei University in Tokyo, said the public was "not at all convinced" by this explanation.

Opposition lawmakers alleged that the tempering, which started soon after Abe stated in parliament in mid-February a year ago that he would step down if any proof of his or his wife's involvement was found, might have been aimed at protecting Abe.

Kiyomi Tsujimoto, Diet affairs chief of the opposition Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan, said that summoning Sagawa "is just the first step" and the matter "won't be settled" unless Akie Abe appears.

May asked Abe to support her in Britain's row with Russia over the poisoning of a former Russian spy and his daughter.

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The idea was also deemed "unacceptable" by the pro-British party in Northern Ireland that props up her government. However, "the transitional period will only come after everything is agreed", said Barnier .

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