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HOME  > Past issues  > 2023 December 20 - 2024 January 9  > PM Kishida evades referring to LDP slush-fund allegations and quake-caused N-power plant troubles
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2023 December 20 - 2024 January 9 [POLITICS]

PM Kishida evades referring to LDP slush-fund allegations and quake-caused N-power plant troubles

January 6, 2024
Prime Minister Kishida Fumio at a New Year press conference on January 4 said that the Liberal Democratic Party will establish a political reform panel to “restore public trust” in politics. He said that the new organ will expand the “transparency of political funds” within the LDP and will create “rules” concerning LDP factions. He, however, stopped short of referring to the fundamental problem of corruption associated with the LDP fund-raising scheme.

He seems to be intending to maintain political donations from business establishments and other interest groups as a premise, playing down the issue as just needing to boost the “transparency”. Most fundraiser tickets are bought by corporations and interest groups, and each party yields a profit margin of more than 90%. Proceeds from sales of fundraiser tickets are, in effect, political donations from business enterprises and other organizations as prohibited by the Political Funds Control Act. The Japanese Communist Party proposes a total ban on political donations, including ticket purchases, from organizations. This is the way to “restore the public trust”.

PM Kishida glosses over LDP “factions” as “policy groups”. He said, “These groups are supposed to be aimed at studying policies and grooming young politicians.” He added, “However, by diverting from their original purposes, they may have become a setup to seek money and posts.” By saying this, PM Kishida himself implied that LDP factions are the very places to go to seek money and posts. By saying that the party will create rules concerning LDP factions, he hinted at maintaining the factions.

In regard to the major earthquake which hit the Noto Peninsula, several reporters asked questions about the nuclear power plant located on the peninsula. PM Kishida, however, refused to respond and abruptly walked away from the press conference.

The Shika Nuclear Power Plant is located on the Noto Peninsula. After the magnitude-7.6 earthquake hit the peninsula, external power links were partly cut off, some pipes were destroyed, oil for insulation and cooling leaked from the pipes, and some water in a pool of spent nuclear fuel spilled over. In the first place, many nuclear power plants exist in the quake-prone archipelago of Japan. Their existence always gives great anxiety to people each time a major earthquake occurs.
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