Japan’s LDP Executives Demand Scandal-hit Abe Faction’s Leading Members to Leave Party

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

The Liberal Democratic Party’s executives have demanded the scandal-hit Abe faction’s leading members to voluntarily leave the party or resign as Diet members, according to sources.

Although those members were not indicted, party executives are considering severe disciplinary measures if they fail to take voluntary actions, the sources said.

The executives concluded that they needed to take a strong stance given the growing criticism from the public and within the party over the Abe faction members’ failure to provide a full explanation and take responsibility.

LDP executives are considering taking action against at least six members of the Abe faction, including faction coordinator and former education minister Ryu Shionoya, former chairperson of the party Diet Affairs Committee Tsuyoshi Takagi and former Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno.

Penalties under party regulations include suspension from party positions, requests to leave the party and expulsion.

The special investigation squad of the Tokyo District Public Prosecutors Office decided not to indict the senior members of the Abe faction, which was once led by late Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. However, the LDP’s political reform headquarters, which was founded in response to the political funds scandal, said in its draft interim plan that the LDP will “decide on how those concerned need to be held accountable and what responsibility they need to take.”

It was purportedly common practice within the Abe faction that ticket sales from the faction’s political fundraising parties over their quotas were given to lawmakers as unreported funds.

The senior members of the faction have avoided giving detailed explanations regarding their alleged involvement in the scandal. Shionoya said at a press conference that he was not aware of the practice.