Abe faction of Japan's LDP meets for last time

The largest faction in Japan's main governing Liberal Democratic Party has ended its activities after holding its final general meeting.

The faction that was once led by the late Prime Minister Abe Shinzo announced about two weeks ago that it would dissolve itself in response to a political funding scandal.

At Thursday's meeting, faction members at the LDP headquarters in Tokyo decided to dissolve its senior positions and decision-making group and end its activities.

The faction was established by former Prime Minister Fukuda Takeo, and was viewed as a conservative political group within the LDP.

Prime ministers who were senior members of the faction included Mori Yoshiro, Koizumi Junichiro, Fukuda Yasuo and Abe Shinzo.

The faction had been without a leader since Abe was assassinated in July 2022. In August last year, the faction launched a 15-member executive board that was chaired by former education minister Shionoya Ryu. Its members included former Chief Cabinet Secretary Matsuno Hirokazu and former LDP Policy Research Council Chairperson Hagiuda Koichi.

The largest intra-party faction with a membership of up to 100 lawmakers is said to have had a significant influence on the administration of Prime Minister Kishida Fumio.

Matsuno, Hagiuda and three other lawmakers were regarded as the five most senior members of the faction.

They had served as Cabinet ministers in the Kishida administration or held senior positions in the LDP.

But Cabinet ministers and senior party members belonging to the faction left their posts in December after the fundraising scandal was discovered.

On January 19, the faction decided to disband after prosecutors filed charges against its chief treasurer and three lawmakers.

On Wednesday, the Abe faction announced that it had failed to register a total of about 676 million yen, or about 4.6 million dollars, of revenues in political funds reports during the five years through 2022. It has apologized for causing public distrust in politics.