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FILE PHOTO: Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (L) and his wife Akie send off Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko boarding a special flight for their visit to Vietnam and Thailand, at Haneda Airport in Tokyo, Japan February 28, 2017. REUTERS/Issei Kato/File Photo


TOKYO (Reuters) - Japan's top government spokesman said on Friday that Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's wife did not donate money to a school at the centre of a ballooning political scandal.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga had said on Thursday he had confirmed with Abe that the premier had not made a donation himself or through a third party including his wife, Akie. He added then that the government was checking on whether Akie herself had donated to Moritomo Gakuen, the school operator.

Abe has denied that either he or his wife intervened in a murky land deal by Moritomo Gakuen or in the process of its getting accreditation for a new school from local authorities. The educational group runs a kindergarten in western Japan and had planned to open an elementary school with an ultra-conservative curriculum.

(Reporting by Kaori Kaneko; Editing by Chang-Ran Kim)