Japanese Prime Minister's Faction Announces Dissolution Amid Slush Fund Scandal - Reports
© AP Photo / Kiyoshi OtaJapan's Prime Minister Fumio Kishida attends a joint news conference with South Korea's President Yoon Suk Yeol at the prime minister's official residence in Tokyo March 16, 2023.
© AP Photo / Kiyoshi Ota
TOKYO (Sputnik) - Japan's ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) faction that was headed by Prime Minister Fumio Kishida until December 2023 has officially announced its dissolution amid an ongoing financial scandal, the Kyodo news agency reported on Tuesday.
The decision to this effect was made at the faction's extraordinary meeting earlier in the day. Kishida himself and the second person in the faction, Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshimasa Hayashi, were not present at the event, the report said.
Kishida stepped down as chief of his faction at the end of 2023 after it was revealed that the faction was involved in the financial scandal around the ruling party along with other factions. Last week, the prime minister announced his decision to dissolve the faction immediately after Tokyo prosecutors opened a criminal case against its accountant.
The scandal around underreported LDP funds broke out in early December 2023. Five factions within the ruling party allegedly received money from various fundraising events that they failed to report. To safeguard against bribery and corruption, Japanese law demands that the names of donors and the amounts raised be written in a reporting book if the funds collected at one event exceed 200,000 yen ($1,350). The donations exceeding this amount had not been declared, and the surplus was allegedly pocketed by some LDP members in kickbacks.
8 December 2023, 06:26 GMT
A number of LDP factions' senior members were questioned throughout December 2023, and some of the politicians have resigned amid the scandal. Last Friday, Tokyo prosecutors opened criminal cases against two lawmakers and three accountants from the ruling party.