LDP’s Matsuno, Takagi to Appear before Diet Ethics Panel

Yomiuri Shimbun file photo
Former Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno

TOKYO (Jiji Press) — Two more members of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party are set to appear before the House of Representatives’ Deliberative Council on Political Ethics over a high-profile money scandal involving factions at the party, it was learned Wednesday.

The two are former Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno and former LDP parliamentary affairs leader Tsuyoshi Takagi. Former industry minister Yasutoshi Nishimura is also willing to speak at the panel.

On Wednesday, the LDP conveyed the three lawmakers’ intentions to the main opposition Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan and sought its understanding for a plan to hold on Tuesday a key public hearing necessary for the lower chamber of the Diet, the country’s parliament, to vote on the government’s fiscal 2024 draft budget.

The CDP and other opposition parties called on the LDP to formally decide to convene a meeting of the Lower House ethics council within this month. The LDP later proposed that the public hearing be held on Feb. 29, instead of Tuesday.

Matsuno, Takagi and Nishimura were senior members of the LDP faction once led by the late Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, and have served as secretary-general of the faction.

On Tuesday, the LDP told the opposition bloc that former education minister Ryu Shionoya, who was also an executive of the faction, and former internal affairs minister Ryota Takeda, who was secretary-general of the faction headed by former LDP Secretary-General Toshihiro Nikai, will appear before the Lower House ethics panel.

But the opposition camp demanded that all 51 Lower House lawmakers who belonged to the Abe and Nikai factions and failed to record funds, such as kickbacks paid from revenues from fundraising parties held by LDP factions, in political funds reports speak at the ethics panel.

Meanwhile, the CDP and three other opposition parties—Nippon Ishin No Kai (Japan Innovation Party), the Japanese Communist Party and the Democratic Party for the People—made an official request Wednesday that the Deliberative Council on Political Ethics of the House of Councillors, the upper chamber of the Diet, hold a meeting over the political funds scandal.

They demanded that all 31 Upper House lawmakers who belonged to the Abe and Nikai factions and failed to report some political funds, and Yasutada Ono, who has left the LDP, appear before the council.