LDP Mulls Heavy Penalties for 3 Over Political Funds Scandal, Including Former Chief Cabinet Secretary

Yomiuri Shimbun file photos
From left: Koichi Hagiuda, Hirozaki Matsuno, Tsuyoshi Takagi

The Liberal Democratic Party is considering heavy penalties for three members who played key roles in the faction led by late former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, in connection with violations of the Political Funds Control Law, according to members of the party.

The three are Tsuyoshi Takagi, former chairperson of the LDP’s Diet Affairs Committee; former Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno and Koichi Hagiuda, former chairperson of the Policy Research Council.

While severe, their penalties will likely be lesser than those handed out to four former top officials of the Abe faction — including Ryu Shionoya, former education minister — whom Prime Minister and LDP President Fumio Kishida personally questioned on Tuesday and Wednesday over their possible involvement in the political funds scandal.

A total of 82 lawmakers of the Abe faction and the faction led by Toshihiro Nikai failed to include in their political funds reports income from fundraising parties that they received as kickbacks.

Some in the LDP’s leadership have proposed setting three or four levels of punishment, based on such factors as the respective lawmakers’ positions and the amount of money they did not report.

Former Internal Affairs and Communications Minister Ryota Takeda, who served as secretary general of the Nikkai faction, is also expected to be punished. He served an important position in the faction and, according to an LDP survey, he failed to report ¥19.26 million.