LDP Senior Member Hagiuda Questioned by Prosecutors; Suspected of Not Including Kickbacks in Political Funds Reports

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Koichi Hagiuda

Former Liberal Democratic Party Policy Research Council Chairperson Koichi Hagiuda voluntarily submitted himself to questioning by the special investigation squad of the Tokyo District Public Prosecutors Office over suspected hidden funds in the party’s Abe faction that he belongs to, sources said.

So far, prosecutors have questioned four other party executives in the faction: former Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno, former LDP Diet Affairs Committee Chairperson Tsuyoshi Takagi, former LDP Secretary General for the House of Councillors Hiroshige Seko and former Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology Minister Ryu Shionoya. Shionoya chairs the faction, which is also known as Seiwa Seisaku Kenkyukai.

Hagiuda, along with Matsuno, Takagi, Seko and former Economy, Trade and Industry Minister Yasutoshi Nishimura form the Abe faction’s core “five-man group.” The prosecutors were believed to have checked with Hagiuda about the circumstances surrounding the off-the-book funds.

The Abe faction had provided its members with cash equivalent to the amount the members collected in party ticket sales in excess of their allotted quotas, and is suspected of failing to include such monies in political funds reports of both the faction and its individual members. The amount of money not included in the reports is estimated to total ¥500 million in the five years ending in 2022. Hagiuda himself is suspected of not including the kickbacks in his own reports.