Japan's Aso - whether to attend G20 depends on situation in parliament

Prosecutors have evidence of document tampering

He did not directly respond to a question about media reports that the name of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's wife, Akie, had been removed from documents related to the sale, which the government admitted on Monday had been altered.

"What is important is to make everything clear", he said.

The controversy has caused the Diet to stall, but Sakakibara said he still wants lawmakers to deliberate on other key issues during the current ordinary session through June, including labor reforms aimed at addressing overworking and exempting certain skilled workers from working-hour regulations.

Abe has repeatedly denied he or his wife did favours for school operator Moritomo Gakuen, which bought the land, and has said he would resign if evidence were found that they had.

Media have said the alterations were made after February past year - when the suspected scandal broke - and that words describing the "special nature" of the deal were excised along with the names of several politicians and that of Akie.

The transaction has attracted renewed attention since a national daily reported that the sale documents were doctored.

Japan's Nikkei share average rose to a 1.5 week high on Monday helped by tech shares, but early gains were trimmed as a suspected cronyism scandal dampened sentiment.

The changes include the removal of a reference to a visit to the school by Abe's wife and to ties that Abe and Finance Minister Taro Aso had to a conservative lobby group, Nippon Kaigi - both well-known facts.

Aso told a news conference on Monday that ministry officials altered the documents to make them conform with testimony in parliament by the then-head of a ministry division, Nobuhisa Sagawa, who abruptly resigned last week.

The Moritomo Gakuen scandal, which first surfaced in February previous year and pushed down Abe's support ratings, has drawn fresh attention since a major Japanese daily reported on March 2 that the ministry documents had been doctored to remove descriptions stating the discounted land sale price was "exceptional".

Opposition politicians have called for Mr Aso to resign.

The risk now for Aso and Abe, experts said, is that the suspected cover-up does more damage than the land sale itself. Aso has been Abe's deputy since he took office in December 2012, and is seen as a key backer of the Abenomics program, part of which focuses on weakening the yen to boost the nation's exports.

"At the very least, it seems that Aso's chances of surviving as finance minister are diminishing rapidly", wrote Tobias Harris, vice-president of consultancy Teneo Intelligence, in an email.

Shinzo Abe acknowledged the new revelations "could undermine trust in the entire government" and added: "I deeply apologise to the people", said a report in The Guardian. "It is inconceivable that the bureaucrats on the spot had such authority (to alter the documents)", said LDP lawmaker Shigeru Ishiba, who has made no secret of his desire to challenge Mr Abe in the party race. Non-support rose to 42 percent and 80 percent said that the matter had not been handled appropriately.

Related news:

Hot News

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Tag: Huawei Honor 7C Price
Mar 13, 2018 - 10:50
The Honor 9 Lite sports a 5.65-inch bezel-less FullView FHD+ display with aspect ratio of 18:9 and resolution of 1080×2160 pixels. Both the devices come with an expansion option to expand the memory storage of the device by using an external microSD card.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Trudeau: Canada's steel industry can breathe 'sigh of relief' after exemption
Mar 13, 2018 - 10:46
President Donald Trump last week that Canada won't become a transit station for offshore steel and aluminum into the U.S. market. The EU rejected Mr Trump's argument that the tariffs are required for national security reasons.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Taylor Swift Premiered "Delicate" Video During iHeartRadio Music Awards (Watch Now)
Mar 12, 2018 - 09:12
The single, off her latest album Reputation , talks about a special someone that she can't seem to get off her mind. The singer popped up on social media last week to quickly and casually announce the video's release.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top We deserved it - Rodgers revels in derby win over Rangers
Mar 12, 2018 - 09:09
In a classic Old Firm encounter , PSG loanee Odsonne Edouard curled in Celtic's victor in the 69th minute. However, Dembele's equaliser on the stroke of half-time was crucial.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Phillies sign Jake Arrieta to three-year deal, sources say
Mar 12, 2018 - 09:04
Luke Weaver pitched four ideal innings and struck out four in his third start for the Cardinals in a 4-3 win over the Nationals. Arrieta, 32, finished last season with a 14-10 record, a 3.53 ERA, and a 163/55 K/BB ratio in 168 1/3 innings for the Cubs.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Tiger falls agonisingly short as Casey wins Valspar
Mar 12, 2018 - 09:04
And even though Woods hasn't won himself since 2013, Casey acknowledged that Sunday's one-stroke win is indeed still a big deal. Woods dropped in the putt for his first birdie since the opening hole of the day to keep his tournament hopes alive.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Notre Dame expresses disappointment in NCAA Tournament snub
Mar 12, 2018 - 09:04
He's done a fantastic job at Harvard and we know that they're really good, and so it's going to be a very hard game". Notre Dame is making its 12th appearance in the NIT and first since the end of the 2009 season.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Erdogan censures North Atlantic Treaty Organisation for not helpimg in Turkey's Syria operations
Mar 12, 2018 - 09:04
The recent UNSC resolution, which urged a 30-days Syria-wide ceasefire, has been also used to call upon Erdogan to halt their operations.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top EPL: Conte reveals details of how Kante fainted during Chelsea training
Mar 12, 2018 - 09:01
The France global has trained this week after passing out following training in the build-up to the defeat at Manchester City . I trust a lot in all my players". "I don't think this is the same situation", he said.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Mark Lawrenson states his prediction for Bournemouth v Tottenham
Mar 12, 2018 - 09:01
The situation worsened when Kane was forced off in the 34th after colliding with Bournemouth goalkeeper Asmir Begovic. The Three Lions face Tunisia in Volgograd on Monday, 18 June in their opening fixture in Russian Federation .

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Toys 'R' Us considers closing United States stores
Mar 11, 2018 - 01:35
The company announced earlier this month they planned on closing stores in the United Kingdom, but it's not clear how many. Toys R Us is preparing to potentially close all of its USA stores as part of a liquidation, according to several reports.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top ISIS Claims Responsibility For Deadly Attack Aimed At Afghan Hazaras
Mar 11, 2018 - 01:32
Afghan officials investigate the site of a suicide bomb attack near a Shi'ite mosque in Kabul , Afghanistan March 9, 2018. The overnight Taliban attack in northern Takhar Province took place in a remote region of the district of Khwaja Ghar.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Chaos reigns as West Ham lose 3-0 at home to Burnley
Mar 11, 2018 - 01:32
Whereas Upton Park provided a formidable atmosphere, fans are separated from the pitch by the running track in their expansive, largely taxpayer-funded new home.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Eastern Ghouta's rebels agree to evacuate imprisoned Nusra fighters
Mar 11, 2018 - 01:31
Turkey-led rebels have been pressing an assault on the Kurdish enclave of Afrin since January 20. A picture from Syrian state TV showing unidentified "fighters", evacuated from Eastern Ghouta.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Meghan Markle Steps Out In Another Perfect Autumn Look
Mar 11, 2018 - 01:24
From the sounds of things, these protests haven't put Meghan off as her wedding dress is rumoured to cost an incredible £400,000. After she reportedly told Prince Harry she wanted to be an actress, he brought her over to talk to the former Suits star .