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2023 December 20 - 2024 January 9 [POLITICS]

LDP Abe faction’s sitting Dietmember arrested over slush-fund scandal

January 8, 2024
The Tokyo District Public Prosecutors Office’s special investigation team on January 7 arrested a sitting House of Representatives member, Ikeda Yoshitaka, who belongs to the Liberal Democratic Party Abe faction, for a violation of the Political Funds Control Act. This was the first arrest in connection with a scandal in which major LDP factions created slush funds through off-the-book revenues from fundraising party ticket sales.

Prosecutors suspect that Ikeda did not record in his political organization’s political funds reports a total of 48 million yen in fundraiser proceeds which he received as kickbacks from the Abe faction between 2018 and 2020.

The political fundraising scandal has engulfed not only the Abe faction, the LDP’s largest faction formally called Seiwa Seisaku Kenkyukai, but also ex-LDP Secretary General Nikai’s faction, Prime Minister Kishida’s faction, LDP Vice President Aso’s faction, and LDP Secretary General Motegi’s faction.

PM Kishida at the New Year press conference expressed his intent to make every effort to restore public trust in politics while showing reluctance to introduce a ban on political donations from business entities and other interest groups as well as on political fundraising parties.

The LDP, soon after Ikeda’s arrest, announced that Ikeda will be expelled from the party. On the other hand, it fails to show willingness to fulfil its accountability to the general public over the ongoing scandal.

If PM Kishida is serious about restoring the public trust, he should take measures, such as summoning all the people concerned as sworn witnesses to the Diet, to uncover the truth behind the scandal.

Past related articles:
> LDP’s unreported profits from fundraising events cause drop in Cabinet support rating in all polls [December 19, 2023]
> Koike: To draw curtain on slush fund scandal with removal of 4 Cabinet members is unacceptable [December 15, 2023]
> JCP demands summoning of Abe faction’s politicians as sworn witnesses to testify before Diet over off-the-book money scandal [December 12, 2023]
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