Japanese PM Abe facing pressure, from both inside and outside of Japan

'재팬 패싱,' '사학스캔들 문서조작'... 궁지에 몰린 아베
And amid speculation over the details of talks with Pyongyang,...
Japan has pledged to finance most of the cost of inspecting North Korea's nuclear facilities--
if the regime agrees to give up its nuclear program.
The move comes as Tokyo worries over the possibility of a 'Japan passing' during North Korea talks
Park Hee-jun reports. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, now in his sixth year in office,... is facing mounting pressure in handling matters both inside and outside Japan.

To prevent being left out of the 'inner circle' of summit talks with North Korea-- Japan has promised to provide 2.8 million U.S. dollars to help the International Atomic Energy Agency inspect North Korea's nuclear facilities,... if Pyongyang is willing to dismantle its nuclear arsenal.
According to Kyodo News Agency,... officials say that Japan is also willing to finance more than the initial costs if costs go up,... such as if new nuclear facilities, other than the nuclear complex in Yongbyon, are found.

The move aims to prompt North Korea to shut down its nuclear weapons program,... but it also keeps Japan in the loop on the international response to North Korea.
It comes amid worries of a 'Japan passing' in the process of arranging summits between the two Koreas and between North Korea and the United States.

But back at home,... Prime Minister Abe is facing a different kind of pressure-- one related to a land-sale scandal.
He's being questioned over his involvement in a controversial sale of state-owned land at a huge discount to school operator Moritomo Gakuen,... who has close ties to Abe's wife.
The issue became even more serious after the Asahi Shimbun newspaper reported last week, that finance ministry documents related to the sale were altered ahead of being submitted to lawmakers for inspection.
And Japan's finance ministry is expected to report on Monday,... that the documents in the case WERE, in fact, doctored, according to Japan's public broadcaster NHK,

According to the Yomiuri Shimbun newspaper, ratings for Abe's cabinet dropped to 48 percent, down six points from a month earlier.
And further developments in the cover-up are likely to jeopardize his third term as ruling Liberal Democratic Party leader.

Park Hee-jun, Arirang News.

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