Kishida vows to tighten political funds control law

Japanese lawmakers are debating how to make political funding more transparent in the wake of a fundraising scandal involving several factions of the main ruling Liberal Democratic Party.

Okada Katsuya, a senior opposition lawmaker and the Secretary-General of the Constitutional Democratic Party, is urging Prime Minister Kishida Fumio to quickly bring about reform.

He said, "politicians are judged by their results. You should be carrying out reforms during this Diet Session, and if you don't, you should commit to taking responsibility."

Prime Minister Kishida Fumio replied, "the LDP will thoroughly discuss legal changes with the other parties. We will work to revise the Political Funds Control Act during the current session of the Diet."

Multiple factions within the LDP are suspected of failing to declare revenue from fundraising events. They also allegedly paid out kickbacks to some members.

Current and former treasurers from three factions have been charged with falsifying political funds reports.

The LDP's coalition partner, Komeito, is also calling for new measures. The party's policy chief, Takagi Yosuke says lawmakers should be held responsible when their treasurers break the law.

He said, "the public is wondering why politicians aren't held accountable, even when their accountants are caught. We need to change the law to punish politicians when their staff break the rules."

Kishida replied, "if we introduce guilt-by-association, we'll need to clearly outline the scope of who it applies to, and when. We want to discuss these kinds of issues with the other parties."

Opposition parties have also called on the leaders from the LDP factions involved in the scandal to explain themselves in front of the Diet.