Prosecutors Question LDP Senior Member Hagiuda Over Alleged Failure to Report Kickbacks in Political Funds

Koichi Hagiuda, the former chairperson of the Liberal Democratic Party’s Policy Research Council, has voluntarily presented himself for questioning by the special investigation squad of the Tokyo District Public Prosecutors Office in connection with suspected hidden funds within the party’s Abe faction, to which he belongs. This comes after four other party executives in the faction, including 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, were also questioned by the prosecutors. Shionoya chairs the faction, which is also known as Seiwa Seisaku Kenkyukai.

The core “five-man group” of the Abe faction, which includes Hagiuda, Matsuno, Takagi, Seko, and former Economy, Trade and Industry Minister Yasutoshi Nishimura, has come under scrutiny as prosecutors are believed to have inquired with Hagiuda about the circumstances surrounding the off-the-book funds. The faction allegedly provided its members with cash equal to the amount collected from party ticket sales in excess of their allotted quotas. This has led to suspicions of failure to include such funds in political funds reports of both the faction and its individual members, with an estimated total of ¥500 million not being included in the reports over the past five years leading up to 2022.

Hagiuda himself is alleged to have omitted kickbacks from his own reports, adding to the legal challenges faced by the Abe faction. The questioning of Hagiuda marks another development in the ongoing investigation into the alleged financial irregularities within the LDP’s prominent faction.

The revelations have raised concerns about the transparency and adherence to financial regulations within the party, which has been grappling with a series of controversies in recent times. The unfolding situation has also fueled speculation about the potential impact on the LDP’s internal dynamics and its ability to uphold the public’s trust.

As the investigation unfolds, the spotlight remains firmly on the individuals implicated and the faction’s leadership, as the prosecutors seek to uncover the full extent of the alleged misreporting and hidden funds. The LDP’s response to the developments will determine the party’s ability to address the allegations and restore confidence in its ethical and legal standards.

The outcome of the investigation and any subsequent legal proceedings could have far-reaching implications for the Abe faction and the wider political landscape in Japan. The developments are closely monitored by political observers and the public alike, as they await further clarity on the matter and its potential impact on the country’s governance.


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