Prosecutors on Dec. 19 searched the offices of two ruling Liberal Democratic Party factions, including the largest, as Prime Minister Fumio Kishida’s administration continues to be plagued by a spiraling political funds scandal.
The Tokyo District Public Prosecutors Office’s special investigation squad visited locations linked to the biggest faction, once led by the late Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, and another led by former LDP Secretary-General Toshihiro Nikai.
They are attempting to build cases against accountants from the factions, alleging the groups failed to declare hundreds of millions of yen of fundraising party revenue in political funding reports, with the money going to faction members, investigative sources said.
The shady funds are believed to have amounted to about \500 million over a five-year period through 2022 for the Abe faction and also over \100 million for the Nikai group, they said.
The scandal has pushed Kishida to replace all four ministers belonging to the faction once led by Abe. His Cabinet’s support rate has plummeted to a fresh low of 22.3% in the latest survey by Kyodo News.(Kyodo)