Three LDP Lawmakers Accused of Receiving Hidden Funds Totaling Over ¥10 million; Prosecutors Investigating Abe Faction Leadership

Two more senior lawmakers from Japan’s Liberal Democratic Party are under scrutiny for suspected involvement in off-the-books kickbacks from political party fundraising revenue. Tsuyoshi Takagi, chairperson of the LDP’s Diet Affairs Committee, and Hiroshige Seko, the party’s secretary general in the House of Councillors, are both believed to have received more than ¥10 million in hidden funds over a five-year period, from 2018 to 2022, without disclosing it in their political funds reports. The Tokyo District Public Prosecutors Office’s special investigation squad is now looking into questioning Matsuno, Takagi, and Seko over the matter.

Takagi, a member of the Abe faction, was appointed as the secretary general in charge of practical affairs in August 2022. The Abe faction, which was formerly led by the late Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, is the largest within the LDP. More than 10 lawmakers from the Abe faction are also suspected of receiving funds exceeding their assigned quotas for selling tickets to fundraising parties and not reporting it in their political fund reports, according to sources.

In addition to the three lawmakers mentioned, there are other senior faction members suspected of failing to list kickback funds in their political fund reports, although the amount was not as substantial. This suggests a broader issue within the faction that will need to be addressed moving forward.

Economy, Trade and Industry Minister Yasutoshi Nishimura has also come under suspicion for receiving several hundred thousand yen in off-the-books kickbacks and failing to include the amount in his political funds reports. Nishimura, a former secretary general of the faction, is the third current or former holder of that post to be implicated in the scandal. Prosecutors suspect a systematic practice within the faction of not disclosing kickbacks in political fund reports and will investigate the movement of funds and how the faction operates.

Nishimura mentioned at a recent meeting of the lower house budget committee that he is examining reports retroactively and believes he must fulfill his accountability at some point. However, he did not specify when he would explain the situation. The investigation is ongoing, and the implications for the future of the LDP and the Abe faction remain to be seen.


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