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HOME  > Past issues  > 2022 February 2 - 8  > Ex-PM Suga should disclose information regarding over 1.2 billion yen in Cabinet Secretariat ‘secret funds’
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2022 February 2 - 8 [POLITICS]

Ex-PM Suga should disclose information regarding over 1.2 billion yen in Cabinet Secretariat ‘secret funds’

February 7, 2022

Akahata editorial (excerpts)

Akahata on February 3 published its findings that under the government of ex-Prime Minister Suga Yoshihide, who resigned within one year after he took office in September 2020, the Cabinet Secretariat spent a total of more than 1.3 billion yen in secrets funds and that 1.24 billion yen of the 1.3 billion yen was used at the chief cabinet secretary’s discretion under the name of “promotion of policies”.

“Policy promotion” funds are money that can be used with no receipts required. During the Suga government, Chief Cabinet Secretary Kato Katsunobu was the only person who knows for what purpose and to whom the money was disbursed.

Kato insisted that secret funds are money “to be used flexibly in accordance with his decision”. On the other hand, several experts in tax and political funds pointed out that Kato allegedly used the secret money to further his own interests.

When Suga served as the chief cabinet secretary, he used 8.68 billion yen in “policy promotion” funds. In autumn 2020 while serving as the chief cabinet secretary, Suga ran for the ruling Liberal Democratic Party’s presidential election. He received 90.2 million yen in policy promotion funds on September 1, a day before he announced his candidacy for the presidential election, and spent 48.2 million yen before he became the new prime minister on September 16. At Diet meetings after his government inauguration, it was alleged that he used the funds to win the LDP presidential election. Although he denied the allegation, he presented no evidence to support his claim.

A number of former chief cabinet secretaries testified that they used the Cabinet Secretariat’s secret funds for the purpose of advancing party interests. Suga and Kato should disclose how the confidential funds were used.

The Cabinet Secretariat’s secret funds, including policy promotion funds, have often become an issue when it is revealed to the general public that money is used to win over opposition party politicians and media to support government policies.

A civil group composed of lawyers and scholars has been urging the government to establish rules so that the unintended use of the “policy promotion” funds will be banned, and information on the use of the funds will be disclosed after a certain period of time. A fundamental review of the current system regarding the use of state secret funds by the Cabinet Secretariat is needed as it creates public distrust.

Past related article:
> More than \8.6 billion in secret funds went to Suga during his tenure as chief cabinet secretary [November 23, 2020]
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