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Japanese PM Abe denies favouritism in approval for school

FILE PHOTO: Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe attends a news conference after close of regular parliament session at his official residence in Tokyo, Japan, June 19, 2017. REUTERS/Toru Hanai/File Photo

TOKYO (Reuters) - Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said on Monday that although the man at the centre of a scandal about approval for the establishment of a new veterinary school was an old friend, he had “never once” tried to use that relationship to gain favours.

Abe and his aides have repeatedly denied intervening to help Kake Gakuen (Kake Educational Institution) win approval for a veterinary school in a special economic zone. Its director, Kotaro Kake, is a friend of Abe.

Several opinion polls have shown Abe’s support below 30 percent and, while this does not immediately threaten his job, it does cloud the longer-term outlook.

Reporting by Elaine Lies; Editing by Paul Tait