Japan Prime Minister Kishida, Cabinet Members Held 28 Large-Scale Fundraising Parties in 2022

Yomiuri Shimbun file photo
Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, front center, and ministers of his Cabinet following a reshuffle are seen at Prime Minister’s Official Residence in Tokyo on Aug. 10 last year.

Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and 14 then Cabinet members held a total of 28 fundraising parties that each generated a revenue of at least ¥10 million in 2022, according to political funds reports for the year.

A fundraising party that raises at least ¥10 million is defined as a “special party” under the Political Funds Control Law. The latest findings shed light on the fact that the ministerial code that calls for refraining from holding large-scale fundraising parties has been losing significance.

The Yomiuri Shimbun calculated the number of fundraising parties held by Kishida and 35 lawmakers who were Cabinet members in 2022 based on political funds reports for that year. The reports were submitted by funds management organizations and political party branches to the internal affairs and communications minister and prefectural election commissions. Two former Cabinet members who were not incumbent lawmakers as of the end of 2022 were excluded from the survey since they were not subject to this disclosure.

Kishida raised the largest amount of funds from special parties, according to the reports. He held a total of seven special parties in Tokyo and his constituency in Hiroshima, raising ¥148.71 million in total. Then Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi held six, raising ¥81.5 million. Then Health, Labor and Welfare Minister Katsunobu Kato held two and raised ¥58.84 million. Sanae Takaichi, minister for economic security, held one and raised ¥39.87 million.

The ministerial code approved by the Cabinet in 2001 stipulates that ministers should refrain from holding large-scale fundraising parties that could invite public suspicion. However, the code does not define what constitutes a large-scale party. Under the Political Funds Control Law, special parties are ones that generate a revenue of ¥10 million or more and their details, such as dates and locations, are required to be reported. As such, ¥10 million is regarded as a guideline for what constitutes a large-scale party. Opposition parties view the high frequency of special parties held by Kishida as a problem.

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DUBAI — Regarding the political fund issue involving the Abe faction of the Liberal Democratic Party, Kishida said Friday, “I would like to make comments on the issue after confirming the situation.” He answered the question from reporters while visiting the United Arab Emirates.