Tokyo Prosecutors Drop Cases against Lawmakers

Yomiuri Shimbun file photo
Liberal Democratic Party Policy Research Council Chairman Koichi Hagiuda

The special investigation squad of the Tokyo District Public Prosecutors Office decided Thursday not to indict Diet members Koichi Hagiuda or Hiroshige Seko on suspicion of violating the Political Funds Control Law in connection with a funds scandal involving factions of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party.

Hagiuda, 60, is a former chairperson of the LDP’s Policy Research Council. Seko, 61, is a former secretary general for the LDP in the House of Councillors. Seko has left the party.

Hagiuda, Seko and six others, including staff of the political organizations they have represented, were not charged over failing to record certain income on their political funds reports. The income came in the form of kickbacks of part of the proceeds of sales of tickets to Abe faction fundraising parties.

According to the special squad, the decision not to prosecute Hagiuda and Seko was made due to insufficient evidence to substantiate the accusations.

The secretary responsible for the false entries at the time for Hagiuda and the financial manager of Seko’s funds organization admitted to the crime of making false entries but were given suspended indictments considering the size of the unrecorded amounts. The charges against the other four staff members were dropped due to insufficient evidence.

In this case, the special squad charged 10 individuals in January, including three members of the Abe faction, for failing to report more than ¥30 million from 2018 to 2022. Those on the lawmaker’s side who had unrecorded amounts less than ¥30 million were not charged. The unrecorded amounts subject to the complaints for Hagiuda was ¥27.28 million and ¥15.42 million for Seko.

This prompting university professors and others to file the latest cases.