Japanese PM Kishida Denies Need to Attend Upper House Ethics Council Meeting; Kishida Urged to Appear as Witness

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Prime Minister Fumio Kishida speaks at the House of Councillors Budget Committee meeting on Wednesday.

Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said Wednesday he had no intention of attending the House of Councillors’ Deliberative Council on Political Ethics session to be held as early as next week.

The battle of words continued during questioning in the upper house Budget Committee session over violations of the Political Funds Control Law by Liberal Democratic Party factions.

When a Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan member urged Kishida to attend the ethics council session as a witness, the LDP president said, “Everything I know has been said in the Diet session” and denied that he needed to attend the hearing.

There is a discrepancy in explanations provided by former Abe faction executives over the circumstances of the faction’s practice of paying kickbacks from fundraising party incomes to its members.

“Our party is working to acknowledge the actual situation, but we have not been able to confirm anything at this time,” Kishida said.

When asked if he intended to urge the LDP members to pay taxes for the kickbacks not included in the political funds reports, Kishida said, “I am not thinking of urging them to pay taxes at this stage, as we have not been able to confirm any cases where they individually received [kickbacks].”