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Towards Reiwa Political Reform — An Analysis of the Consequences of Japan’s Political Funding Issue

14 Jan 2024

At the end of 2023, Japanese politics were thrown into upheaval by a political funding scandal involving the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP)’s Seiwakai (hereafter, the Abe faction) and Shisuikai (hereafter, the Nikai faction). The authorities suspect that both factions failed to appropriately declare income from fundraising events (政治資金パーティー) and expenditures (donations to some MPs) in the relevant political fund reports (政治資金収支報告書). Diet members who sold tickets exceeding their allotted quotas for the political fundraisers organized by their respective factions supposedly received the excess funds generated as kickbacks without proper settlements of accounts. In addition, those under investigation in the Abe faction allegedly did not declare the amount of money donated by the faction in their own political fund reports, either. The prosecutors are currently undertaking a full-scale investigation into this matter.

In this paper, Naoki Takiguchi (Senior Programme Manager / Political Analyst for the Country Programme Japan of the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung) analyzes this issue, providing personal insights and observations, as well as his own thoughts on the future for political reform in the Reiwa era.

Author: Naoki Takiguchi

Project Lead: Naoki Takiguchi

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English

At the end of 2023, Japanese politics were thrown into upheaval by a political funding scandal involving the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP)’s Seiwakai (hereafter, the Abe faction) and Shisuikai (hereafter, the Nikai faction). The authorities suspect that both factions failed to appropriately declare income from fundraising events (政治資金パーティー) and expenditures (donations to some MPs) in the relevant political fund reports (政治資金収支報告書). Diet members who sold tickets exceeding their allotted quotas for the political fundraisers organized by their respective factions supposedly received the excess funds generated as kickbacks without proper settlements of accounts. In addition, those under investigation in the Abe faction allegedly did not declare the amount of money donated by the faction in their own political fund reports, either. The prosecutors are currently undertaking a full-scale investigation into this matter.

In this paper, Naoki Takiguchi (Senior Programme Manager / Political Analyst for the Country Programme Japan of the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung) analyzes this issue, providing personal insights and observations, as well as his own thoughts on the future for political reform in the Reiwa era.