- Politics & Government
News in Pictures / Political Fundraising Scandal Batters Kishida Administration
13:24 JST, December 26, 2023
Prime Minister Fumio Kishida’s administration has been deeply shaken by the hidden funds scandal related to political fundraising parties for Liberal Democratic Party factions.
On Dec. 19, the special investigation squad of the Tokyo District Public Prosecutors Office searched the offices of the Abe faction, known as Seiwa Seisaku Kenkyukai, and the Nikai faction, known as Shisuikai. Both are located in Chiyoda Ward, Tokyo.
The two factions are suspected of violating the Political Funds Control Law by giving their members kickbacks from political fundraising parties and failing to record this money in their political funds reports.
For the Abe faction, the kickbacks are estimated to have totaled ¥500 million in the five-year period from 2018 to 2022, while the Nikai faction is suspected of underreporting ¥100 million or more during the same period.
Even before prosecutors searched the faction offices, the approval rating for the Kishida Cabinet stood at a low of 25% in a Yomiuri Shimbun public opinion survey conducted nationwide in mid-December. This was despite replacing four ministers, including Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno and Economy, Trade and Industry Minister Yasutoshi Nishimura, from the Abe faction in connection with the scandal.
The focus of the investigation will be whether the factions’ lawmakers can be held criminally responsible for the off-the-books hidden funds.
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