January 19, 2024
TOKYO – The Kishida faction of the Liberal Democratic Party failed to report about ¥30 million in party ticket sales and other income in political fund reports from 2018 to 2020, according to sources.
The former treasurer of the faction — Prime Minister Fumio Kishida previously served as its chairperson — has admitted to the special investigation squad of the Tokyo District Public Prosecutors Office that the former treasurer did not include the income in reports. The investigation squad plans to build a case against the former treasurer for violation of the Political Funds Control Law without detention.
According to the sources, the faction, which is also known as Kochikai, failed to report income for which the faction could not identify which member sold the tickets from 2018 to 2020, the sources said.
There is also unreported income separate from party ticket sales that was used for the faction’s operating expenses. No irregularities are believed to have occurred since 2021, when another person took over the treasurer position.
Kishida became the faction’s chairman in 2012 but left the group on Dec. 7 after a series of allegations were made regarding the concealment of income by the LDP factions. The investigation squad believes Kishida has no criminal responsibility.
Investigators are planning to build a case against the secretary of Toshihiro Nikai, 84, a former LDP secretary general and Nikai faction chairman, for failing to report about ¥30 million, the amount by which he exceeded his quota for party ticket sales.
It also has been learned regarding the Nikai faction, otherwise known as Shisuikai, that Nikai and other member lawmakers pooled the money from party ticket sales in excess of quotas, instead of giving it to the faction. This pooled money amounts to more than ¥100 million over five years until 2022.
Including this amount, more than ¥200 million was unreported, and the investigation squad will indict the party’s treasurer without detention.
Investigators are expected to take criminal action against the Abe, Nikai and Kishida factions by the end of this week. As for the Abe faction, also known as Seiwa Seisaku Kenkyukai, the investigation squad plans to indict the treasurer without detention, but it does not intend to indict seven executives.
Criminal charges will be pursued against three Abe faction members — Yoshitaka Ikeda, 57, a lower house member, arrested on suspicion of the violation of the Political Funds Control Law; Yasutada Ono, 64, an upper house member; and Yaichi Tanigawa, 82, a lower house member — for failing to report more than ¥40 million in income.
Kishida: Clerical errors
Regarding the Kishida faction’s unreported income, Kishida said to reporters at the Prime Minister’s Office on Thursday morning, “I have been informed that there were a series of clerical errors.”
The faction was to submit Thursday a revised political fund report to the Internal Affairs and Communications Ministry, Kishida said.
“Even though the prime minister left the faction, the fact that it’s the [LDP] president’s faction does not change,” a Kishida faction executive said. “This is not a casual issue. We need to explain thoroughly and prevent a recurrence.”