Tokyo prosecutors are expected to bring a summary indictment soon against a secretary of former prime minister Abe Shinzo over alleged political funding violations involving his support group.
It has been revealed that Abe's office had covered part of the cost of dinner parties for his supporters at Tokyo hotels. They were held on the eve of government-funded cherry blossom viewing events while Abe was in office.
Costs for the dinner parties totaled more than 220,000 dollars in the five years through 2019. Abe's side is thought to have paid at least 77,000 dollars.
But Abe's support group, which organized the parties, did not report paying for the events in its political fund reports.
Sources say one of Abe's secretaries, who heads his support group, admitted failing to report revenue and spending related to the parties during prosecutors' questioning.
They say the total revenues and costs not declared in political fund reports are about 290,000 dollars over the four years through 2019.
Earlier this year, the group of lawyers and legal scholars from across Japan filed a criminal complaint against Abe over the issue.
Prosecutors questioned Abe on a voluntary basis on Monday. He denied any involvement in the failure to report outlays covering part of the dinner costs.
Sources in Abe's inner circle said that late last year the former prime minister asked his secretary if there had been more expenditures than paid by the participants. They say Abe's staff gave a factually inaccurate explanation that there was no more spending other than around 48 dollars paid by each participant.
Prosecutors are not expected to indict Abe as it is difficult to hold him criminally responsible.