Kato quits LDP but LDP internal decay remains

Kato Koichi, former secretary-general of the Liberal Democratic Party, on March 18 announced he will leave the party over the arrest of his aide on suspicion of massive tax evasion. Kato denied any intention to step down from the Diet.

The influential LDP lawmaker admitted responsibility for his fund-raiser's alleged tax evasion but denied his involvement in the case.

Japanese Communist Party Chair Shii Kazuo on the day told reporters that a series of LDP lawmakers' money scandals, including Suzuki Muneo's arm-twisting in government-funded aid projects for the Russian-held Northern Islands, is inherent in the corrupt nature of the LDP.

Regarding allegations about Kato and Suzuki, who already left the party, the JCP chair pointed out that the two cases share a similar structure.

Using their political power, they meddle in public works projects to gain donations in return, and strengthen their power by spending the money they collected, Shii explained.

He criticized Prime Minister Koizumi Jun'ichiro for drawing a curtain over the scandals with the two secessions from the LDP and for lacking a sense of political responsibility. (end)