Japan’s Liberal Democratic Party Considers Suspension of Abe Faction Executives over Political Fund Scandals

Yomiuri Shimbun file photo
The Liberal Democratic Party headquarters

The Liberal Democratic Party will hold faction executives accountable for failing to prevent a series of alleged payments of off-the-book monies from the factions to their members, and is considering disciplinary measures under party regulations, several LDP sources said.

The measures will come independent of the Tokyo District Public Prosecutors Office’s special investigation squad probe of the scandal and are intended to show the party putting its foot down on the matter. Proposed penalties include suspension of posts.

Those to be penalized will likely mainly be Abe faction members suspected of turning a total of over ¥570 million into hidden funds through kickbacks from sales of political fundraising party tickets.

The executives in mind include former Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno; former Economy, Trade and Industry Minister Yasutoshi Nishimura; the party’s former Diet Affairs Committee Chairperson Tsuyoshi Takagi; former Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology Minister Ryu Shionoya.

Matsuno and Nishimura served the faction’s secretary general, while Takagi is the incumbent. Shionoya is the faction’s coordinator.

The LDP deems any acts tarnishing the integrity of the party as punishable. Penalties include warnings, suspension from positions, no election endorsements, membership suspensions, admonition to leave the party and expulsion.