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Blame the truly powerful, not the bureaucrats, for land sale scandal

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"Government officials are liars," yelled the female deputy director of Moritomo Gakuen. "And you've got no balls," she spat at an official of the Finance Ministry's Kinki Local Finance Bureau handling local public property transactions.

The hapless official even had a drink coaster hurled at him. Enduring all these indignities, he told her, "This is government land. It cannot be sold below the fair market value."

A set of 217 documents, submitted by the Finance Ministry to the Diet on May 23, contain records of three-year negotiations on when to sell the state-owned land to Moritomo Gakuen, and at what price.

Among the names revealed were those of secretaries to as many as five Diet legislators.

According to the........

© The Asahi Shimbun