• Politics & Government

Unreported Party Ticket Revenue Suspected at Another LDP Faction

Yomiuri Shimbun file photo
The Liberal Democratic Party’s headquarters in Chiyoda Ward, Tokyo.

Tokyo (Jiji Press)—The Japanese ruling party faction led by heavyweight Toshihiro Nikai is suspected of failing to include in its political fund reports as revenue the amounts of money collected in excess of sales quotas set for its member lawmakers for fundraising parties, it was learned Sunday.

The special squad of the Tokyo District Public Prosecutors Office is investigating details of the allegation, including flows of funds.

The allegation came after a similar practice at the Liberal Democratic Party faction previously led by the late former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe became known recently.

At the Nikai-led LDP faction, like at the Abe faction, the portions of revenue exceeding the sales quotas are believed to have been given back to the member lawmakers who sold the tickets.

At the Nikai faction, called Shisuikai, the excess amounts were recorded as expenses in the faction’s political fund reports and as revenue in the lawmakers’ fund reports, according to informed sources.

The Abe faction, Seiwa Seisaku Kenkyukai, was found to have been running a system of deciding ticket sales quotas according to the positions of member lawmakers and the number of times they have been elected, and giving the sales revenue in excess of the quotas to the lawmakers who sold the tickets as kickbacks.

The portions were not booked in fund reports of the faction or those of lawmakers.

It is suspected that a total of more than ¥100 million was given to Abe faction lawmakers as slush funds through the system over the five years to 2022.

The amounts of money exceeding the quotas were distributed as kickbacks also at the faction led by Nikai, former LDP secretary-general, and are suspected of not being booked as revenue in the faction’s fund reports.

But the amounts were reported as outlays by the faction and as revenue by member lawmakers, according to the sources.

Hiroshi Kamiwaki, professor at Kobe Gakuin University, has filed a criminal complaint with the Tokyo District Public Prosecutors Office against accountants of five LDP factions, including Seiwa Seisaku Kenkyukai and Shisuikai, on suspicion of violating the political funds control law over sales of fundraising party tickets.

The other three factions are respectively led by LDP Secretary-General Toshimitsu Motegi, LDP Vice President Taro Aso and Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, who doubles as LDP president.

The complaint alleges that the names of organizations that paid more than ¥200,000 at fundraising parties held by the five factions over the four years to 2021 were not recorded in their political fund reports.

The total unreported amount is suspected to have reached ¥40 million, with Seiwa Seisaku Kenkyukai accounting for about ¥19 million and Shisuikai roughly ¥9 million, according to the complaint.