Political fundraising scandal engulfs Japan’s ruling party

Four ministers resign as reports suggest prosecutors were preparing to raid the offices of numerous ruling party MPs. Japan’s prime minister, Fumio Kishida, is working to control the aftermath of a political fundraising scandal that led to the resignations. The chief cabinet secretary, Hirokazu Matsuno, has confirmed his resignation, along with the economy and industry minister, Yasutoshi Nishimura, the internal affairs minister, Junji Suzuki, and the agriculture minister, Ichiro Miyashita. These ministers are members of the largest grouping of MPs in Kishida’s ruling Liberal Democratic party, previously led by former prime minister Shinzo Abe. Prosecutors are investigating allegations that members of Abe’s faction failed to report ¥500m raised through fundraising parties over the past five years. There are also reports of suspicions surrounding Kishida’s faction for allegedly failing to declare over ¥20m in the three years leading up to 2020. The scandal is damaging public trust in the government and has negatively impacted Kishida’s approval ratings and the LDP’s support. Kishida plans to address the allegations directly and restore the public’s trust, but critics suggest that a cabinet reshuffle alone may not be enough to resolve the scandal and the questions it raises about his leadership.

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