Kishida Mulls Removing 2 More LDP Faction Execs from Govt, Party Posts

yomiuri Shimbun file photo
LDP Diet Affairs Committee chair Tsuyoshi Takagi

Tokyo (Jiji Press)—Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida is considering removing two more key members of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party’s largest faction from government and party posts amid a high-profile political funds scandal, informed sources said Sunday.

The two are LDP Diet Affairs Committee chair Tsuyoshi Takagi and Economy, Trade and Industry Minister Yasutoshi Nishimura.

Kishida, president of the LDP, has reportedly already decided to sack Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno over the scandal.

The prime minister could make the personnel changes as early as at the end of the ongoing extraordinary session of the Diet on Wednesday, the sources said.

There is also a proposal to dismiss all 15 senior administration officials belonging to the scandal-hit faction.

The LDP faction, formerly led by the late Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, is alleged to have created slush funds by distributing part of the proceeds from fundraising parties to its members without including the money in political funds statements.

Matsuno, Takagi, Nishimura and two other key faction members—Hiroshige Seko, secretary-general for the LDP in the House of Councillors, and LDP Policy Research Council chair Koichi Hagiuda—are suspected of receiving such unreported funds.

The five are referred to as the quintet at the helm of the LDP faction. Matsuno, Takagi and Nishimura have also served as the faction’s secretary-general.

Within the LDP, some are calling for the five key faction members to be all removed from their current government and party posts.

On Sunday, Kishida had talks with a number of senior LDP officials, apparently to discuss possible personnel changes over the scandal. He met separately with LDP Secretary-General Toshimitsu Motegi and LDP General Council head Hiroshi Moriyama at the prime minister’s office and with Hagiuda at a Tokyo hotel.

Speaking to reporters in the city of Naka, Ibaraki Prefecture, the same day, Nishimura apologized for the funds scandal but denied that he intends to resign.