This Tuesday, the Public Prosecutor’s Office searched several facilities linked to the ruling party in Japan, as part of an investigation into a financial fraud scandal that led four ministers to resign.
The researchers went to the headquarters of two of the most important internal factions of the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), located in the Chiyoda district, in Tokyo.
This search “is extremely regrettable. We take the situation very seriously and are taking the necessary measures, respecting the progress of the investigation,” said LPD Secretary General Toshimitsu Motegi.
According to the press, Japanese prosecutors are investigating suspected fraud against dozens of party members right-wing conservative, which has governed the country almost uninterruptedly since 1955.
Japanese media outlets have pointed out that these members are suspected of not having declared the equivalent of several million euros collected through ticket sales for fundraising events., that the LDP will have paid them.
The searches, which began shortly after 10am (1am in Lisbon), included offices belonging to the party’s largest internal faction, led by former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, murdered last year.
According to the press, members of this faction, known as Seiwaken, will have received around 500 million yen (3.2 million euros) over a period of five years, until 2022.
The searches also extended to offices of the Shisuikai faction, led by Toshiro Nikai, general secretary of the LDP until the arrival of Fumio Kishida as head of government.
This Tuesday’s searches coincide with the formal opening of an investigation by the Public Ministry into the irregularities. It is the first time in 19 years that prosecutors have opened an investigation against a party faction.
Four Japanese ministers submitted their resignations Thursday, including Kishida’s right-hand man, the general secretary (with ministerial status) and government spokesman Hirokazu Matsuno, as well as five vice ministers and other officials.
Four ministers and five vice-ministers resign in Japan financial fraud scandal
Kishida, who considered it “extremely regrettable that the situation has given rise to public distrust”, promised “to become a ball of fire to restore trust in the government”.
Even before this scandal, the popularity of Kishida, 66, was at a low ebb, notably due to persistent inflation and the fall of the yen, resulting in a drop in the purchasing power of Japanese families, despite the government’s announcement last month that of a new fiscal stimulus plan.