In Japan, a supposedly haunted house has suddenly become a matter of national concern.
Though he's been in office since last December, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has not yet moved into the "official" residence that the government provides for the prime minister. Instead, he lives at his private home in Tokyo and commutes daily to his office, which is only a short walk from the official residence. Abe's political opponents aren't too happy with this living arrangement, arguing that he shouldn't have to drive 15 minutes to get to his office in the event of a national emergency in the middle of the night. So, in an effort to pressure the prime minister to move, or maybe just to have a little fun at his expense, one of the political opponents accused Abe of simply being scared to move to the official residence, which has been rumored to be haunted for decades.
"There are rumors that the official residence is haunted by ghosts. Is it true?" opposition lawmaker Ken Kagaya asked in a letter to Abe's cabinet. "Does Prime Minister Abe refuse to move to the official residence because of the rumors?"
The residence was the site of two coup attempts in the 1930s, which resulted in several assassinations, including the death of Prime Minister Tsuyoshi Inuka in 1932. Since then, residents and visitors have reported things like seeing phantom men in uniform in the corridors, and hearing booted feet approaching. So is the place really haunted, and is Abe too chicken to find out for himself? The cabinet's answer (yeah, they really did cook up an official response, probably with a letterhead and everything) was short and sweet.
"We do not assent to what was asked."
And as for why Abe prefers to live at home, Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said it's really just a matter of comfort.
"The prime ministership is an extremely busy post with pressing work," Suga said. "So I think (Abe) should be allowed to work in what he considers the best environment."
So who else is thinking this would make a really amazing episode of Scooby-Doo?