Former senior Finance Ministry official Nobuhisa Sagawa (Mainichi)

OSAKA — The Ministry of Finance is poised to punish 20 officials over the altering of documents relating to the heavily discounted sale of state land in Osaka Prefecture to nationalist school operator Moritomo Gakuen, with a report on the case expected on June 4.

The ministry is expected to admit that former senior Finance Ministry official Nobuhisa Sagawa, who previously headed the Ministry’s Financial Bureau, ordered the doctoring of documents. Sagawa is expected to receive the equivalent of a suspension, while Finance Minister Taro Aso is expected to voluntarily return his ministerial salary for one year. As Aso has indicated he will continue his position in spite of the scandal, it is likely opposition parties will step up their calls for him to face responsibility.

The finance ministry has explained that documents on the sale of the land plot in Toyonaka, Osaka Prefecture, were altered to match the Diet testimony of Sagawa. In a probe into the alterations, several workers at the Kinki Local Finance Bureau stated that the changes were ordered by Sagawa.

Sagawa appears to…