LDP to punish 39 party members over fundraising scandal

Japan's main governing Liberal Democratic Party has decided to punish 39 party members over a fundraising scandal involving some of its factions.

The members in question received kickbacks from fundraiser ticket sales and failed to declare revenues.

They include four executives of the party's largest faction once led by the late Prime Minister Abe Shinzo and others who failed to declare more than 5 million yen, or about 33,000 dollars, over the five years until 2022.

LDP Secretary-General Motegi Toshimitsu on Monday explained the plan at an executive meeting. He later met the head of the party's ethics committee to ask the committee to discuss the penalties.

The LDP leaders plan to impose heavier penalties on Abe faction executives. The penalties under consideration are: being asked to leave the party -- the second-heaviest measure in the party's eight-tier punishment system -- a suspension of qualification as a party member, a non-endorsement in an election, and a reprimand.

The LDP leaders will not punish veteran lawmaker Nikai Toshihiro, who has announced that he will not run in the next general election.

Lawmakers who failed to declare less than 5 million yen would be cautioned by Motegi, the LDP Secretary-General.

The ethics committee will hold a meeting as early as Thursday to decide on the punishments.