LDP to End Seasonal Allowances of ‘Ice’ and ‘Mochi’ Money in Factions

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Prime Minister Fumio Kishida speaks at a meeting of the LDP’s political reform headquarters on Monday afternoon.

The ruling Liberal Democratic Party intends to stop party factions from giving their members an allowance known as “ice money” in the summer and “mochi money” in the winter to support their political activities, as the party seeks to reform amid a scandal over alleged violations of the Political Funds Control Law, according to LDP sources.

At a meeting of party executives on Tuesday morning, Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, who also is LDP president, stressed, “[We must] clearly show our determination to change our party, including in the expansion of transparency for political funds, and in the role of policy groups [factions].”

In a draft report for the political reform headquarters, the LDP was expected to propose turning the factions into true policy groups and completely separating the factions from money and appointments for cabinet and party executive posts.

With the planned end to “ice” and “mochi” payments, which supplied lawmakers with ¥500,000 to ¥1 million each at a time, the LDP intends to limit the factions’ ability to collect and allocate funds. The scotching of the custom would accompany a ban on political fundraising parties.

The factions have their own offices around the Diet building. Once the offices are closed, the LDP intends to make the groups conduct most of their business at the party headquarters.

With those Abe faction executives in mind whom prosecutors have not charged despite that faction’s prominent role in the scandal, the LDP was expected to propose asking lawmakers concerned to fulfill their accountability, and reaching an agreement on political responsibility for scandals.