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HOME  > Past issues  > 2023 December 6 - 12  > JCP demands summoning of Abe faction’s politicians as sworn witnesses to testify before Diet over off-the-book money scandal
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2023 December 6 - 12 TOP3 [POLITICS]

JCP demands summoning of Abe faction’s politicians as sworn witnesses to testify before Diet over off-the-book money scandal

December 12, 2023

Japanese Communist Party Vice Chair Kurabayashi Akiko at the House of Councilors plenary session on December 11 demanded that successive executives of the Liberal Democratic Party’s largest faction “Seiwakai”, known as the Abe faction, and all persons concerned be summoned as sworn witnesses to testify before the Diet as a first step to find out the truth behind the scandal in which five major LDP factions have been shown to be raising off-the-book funds.

The allegation has driven Prime Minister Kishida Fumio into a corner. He is now compelled to reshuffle his Cabinet and the party leadership. Reportedly, he will remove Cabinet Secretary Matsuno Hirokazu, LDP Diet Affairs Committee Chair Takagi Tsuyoshi, and Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry Nishimura Yasutoshi, who all belong to the Abe faction, for suspicion of receiving slush funds.

The kickback scandal surfaced after an Akahata Sunday Edition scoop reported that LDP factions had been amassing the money from their fundraiser ticket sales.

The specific LDP politicians who should be summoned, according to the JCP, are as follows:

Successive chief secretaries of the Abe faction Shimomura Hakubun (ex-education minister), Takagi Tsuyoshi (LDP Diet affairs chief), Nishimura Yasutoshi (METI minister), Matsuno Hirokazu (cabinet spokesperson); Hagiuda Koichi (LDP Policy Research Council chief) and Seko Hiroshige (LDP House of Councilors secretary-general) who were reportedly responsible for raising undisclosed funds in the Abe faction; Head of the Abe faction Shionoya Ryu (ex-education minister); Ono Yasutada (House of Councilors), Ikeda Yoshitaka and Tanigawa Yaichi (both of the House of Representatives) who have allegedly created several tens of millions of yen in slush funds in the Abe faction; and Hashimoto Seiko (House of Councilors) who is an Abe faction member and is suspected of having engaged in the creation of the off-the-book accounts.

Kurabayashi said that the suspicion cannot be cleared up just by removing Abe faction figures from the Cabinet and the LDP leadership, and added, “Both the prosecutors’ investigation and Diet questioning of sworn witnesses are necessary. The prime minister should announce his willingness to cooperate with the Diet in uncovering the facts leading to the allegations.”

PM Kishida in response only said, “I will take the appropriate responses from the viewpoint of recovering public trust.”

Past related article:
> Tamura reveals that PM Kishida earns 90% return from fundraising parties [December 2, 2023]
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