Japan’s LDP faction previously led by Kishida officially breaks up amid scandal

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Japan’s main ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP)’s faction previously led by Prime Minister Fumio Kishida officially announced its dissolution on Tuesday amid an ongoing political funds scandal, local media reported.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshimasa Hayashi, the faction’s chair, said in a message to the faction’s extraordinary meeting earlier in the day that the breakup was intended to regain public trust in politics, Jiji Press said.

Last week, the prime minister pledged to dissolve the faction Kochikai, the fourth-largest faction within the LDP, immediately after Tokyo prosecutors opened a criminal case against its former accountant.

The accountant received a summary indictment for allegedly failing to declare around 30 million yen (about 203,000 U.S. dollars) over three years through 2020.

Kishida stepped down from his position as chief of Kochikai in December 2023 when a political funds scandal rocked the ruling party following a criminal complaint alleging five LDP factions underreported their revenue from political fundraising parties, from which extra income may have been returned to some of their lawmakers as kickbacks.

At the end of last year, in the wake of the unfolding scandal, over 10 senior officials or heavyweight lawmakers stepped down from their positions in Kishida’s cabinet or in the LDP.

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