UPDATE1: Scandal-hit school operator says he received donation from PM Abe

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The head of a school operator mired in controversy over its cut-price purchase of a plot of state-owned land in western Japan said Thursday he received donations from Prime Minister Shinzo Abe for the elementary school being built on the site.

Speaking to lawmakers visiting the site, Yasunori Kagoike, the head of the troubled operator Moritomo Gakuen, said, "Money donated by Abe was included in" the funds for the school.

The school, located in the city of Toyonaka, Osaka Prefecture, is being built on the 8,770-square-meter lot that the operator bought from the government in June last year for 134 million yen ($1.17 million) -- only around 14 percent of its appraised value.

The funds for the school were allegedly raised using Abe's name. Abe's wife, Akie, was to serve as the school's honorary principal but resigned after questions were raised about the controversial land deal.

Abe said neither he nor his wife was involved in the land deal. Moritomo Gakuen operates a kindergarten promoting patriotism in the city of Osaka.

==Kyodo

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