Opposition Calls for Upper House Members to Face Panel

TOKYO (Jiji Press) — Opposition parties on Sunday reiterated their request that 32 lawmakers of the House of Councillors appear before a parliamentary panel on political ethics over a money scandal rocking the ruling Liberal Democratic Party.

Speaking in a television program the same day, senior opposition party officials also said that the Upper House’s Deliberative Council on Political Ethics should hold hearings for the 32 lawmakers in a fully open setting.

The 32 lawmakers are those who failed to record in political funds reports some funds such as kickbacks paid from revenues raised at fundraising parties hosted by their LDP factions. Hiroshige Seko, former LDP secretary general in the upper house, is among them.

“It is important to have all of the 32 offer explanations,” Yoshitaka Saito, who heads the main opposition Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan’s Diet affairs panel in the upper house, told the TV program. “Without that, we can’t get to the bottom of the matter.”

Takumi Shibata, upper house parliamentary affairs chief of opposition Nippon Ishin (Japan Innovation Party), also demanded all of the 32 lawmakers face the ethics panel.