PM Kishida, LDP executives discuss penalties for members in fundraising scandal

Japanese Prime Minister Kishida Fumio has spoken with executives of his Liberal Democratic Party about penalties on party members involved in a fundraising scandal.

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

On Tuesday afternoon, Kishida held two separate meetings with the party's executives. They include Vice-President Aso Taro and Secretary-General Motegi Toshimitsu.

They discussed details of penalties on 39 members of the party's largest faction once led by the late Prime Minister Abe Shinzo, and another faction led by veteran lawmaker Nikai Toshihiro.

The Abe faction decided to drop the practice of kickbacks in April 2022, but it continued after four senior faction members discussed the matter some months later.

The party leadership is arranging to advise two of the four senior members, Shionoya Ryu and Seko Hiroshige, to leave the party.

The leadership is also considering heavy penalties for two others, Shimomura Hakubun and Nishimura Yasutoshi. Asking them to leave the party is an option.

Sources who attended Tuesday's meetings said the LDP leaders failed to reach an agreement, though specific penalties were proposed.

The sources also said it was asked whether members of the two different factions should be treated in the same way.

Some participants reportedly said the same penalties should be imposed on those who held similar official posts or received the same-level amounts of kickbacks.

The party leadership plans to continue their debates before an official decision is made at the ethics panel on Thursday.