Even big-name Diet members are saying, “This is no more…” …Allegations of slush funds! Prime Minister Fumio Kishida: “Just waiting for his fate to run out. | FRIDAY DIGITAL

Even big-name Diet members are saying, “This is no more…” …Allegations of slush funds! Prime Minister Fumio Kishida: “Just waiting for his fate to run out.

The Tokyo District Public Prosecutors Office is serious and will build a case against the prime minister after the Diet session ends. His approval rating has fallen to the danger zone, and he no longer has the strength to fight a general election.

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Prime Minister Kishida looks bitter. The scandals have been so scandalous that it would not be surprising to see a change of government, but the opposition party is weak and ……

I’m so bitter,” Kishida said. This is hopeless.

On the first floor of the LDP headquarters in Nagata-cho, Tokyo, in front of the “LDP Gallery,” which is lined with photos of past LDP presidents, a prominent member of the Abe administration pointed to a plaque. The FRIDAY reporter’s eyes fell on Prime Minister Fumio Kishida (66) in 2009.

He was the Prime Minister of Japan in 2009, Fumio Kishida (66), when he won the LDP presidency and raised his right hand in the air to applaud the LDP. Even the Sankei Shimbun, which is favorable to the LDP, gives his cabinet an approval rating in the 20% range. The income tax cut approved by the Cabinet at the beginning of November, in an effort to clear his name as a “tax-hike spectacle,” was also rejected by the public as a “popularity stunt.

The Komeito, the party’s allied New Komeito party, has been weakened by the death of its founder, Soka Gakkai Honorary Chairman Daisaku Ikeda. The Komei Party has been weakened by the death of its founder and honorary president, Daisaku Ikeda, and has been unable to hold a general election to revive the party. Now the biggest faction, the Seiwa-kai (Abe faction), is under suspicion for huge slush funds. It’s a real stumbling block,” said a former LDP cabinet member.

On December 1, allegations surfaced that the Abe faction had been returning the proceeds of party tickets sold by its members in excess of their quota to some members as slush funds without recording them in the political fund income and expenditure report. The total amount of the slush fund is estimated to have amounted to more than 100 million yen in the five years up to 2010, and the Tokyo District Public Prosecutors Office is accelerating its investigation with a view to bringing a case for violation of the Political Funds Control Law. Journalist Tetsuo Suzuki said, “The investigation is being stepped up with a view to bringing charges for violation of the Political Funds Control Law.

The investigation is likely to extend to the Abe faction’s past secretary-generals. The clerks of the factions are already talking about the flow of money and other matters in response to interviews, and we hear that prosecutors are considering interviewing the secretary-generals of the badge groups based on this information. The four people who fall into this time frame are Hirofumi Shimomura (69), Minister of Economy, Trade, and Industry Yasutoshi Nishimura (61), Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno (61), and National Diet Chairman Takeshi Takagi (67).

It is unlikely that all four will be brought to trial, but one former prosecutor said, “If they do, it should be a symbolic figure of the Abe faction, and if it is an incumbent cabinet minister, it would have a bigger impact. But one former prosecutor said, “If it’s going to be done, it’s going to be done by a symbolic figure in Abe’s camp.

If Matsuno, the face of the administration, were to be prosecuted, the impact would ripple throughout the LDP. Furthermore, on December 3, the Shishokai (Nikkai faction) came under suspicion for allegedly failing to report party ticket income using the same method as the Abe faction.

The regular Diet session is scheduled to begin around January 22, so it is likely that the party will have a case against a member who holds an important post in the party by then,” said Mr. Kishida. The Koikekai (Kishida’s faction) is also suspected of having been behind the money, albeit for a small amount of about 2 million yen, and as president of the party, he will no doubt be held accountable. Mr. Kishida is a “window prime minister” who can only perform his minimum duties as choreographed by the bureaucrats and quietly see where things go from there.

The Kasumigaseki bureaucracy is reportedly taking a favorable view of the government’s weakening due to repeated scandals. Political journalist Koichi Kakutani comments as follows.

Koichi Kakutani, a political journalist, said, “From the viewpoint of the Kasumigaseki, Mr. Kishida will be very welcome because he listens to what they have to say. The Ministry of Finance has agreed to the tax hike, and the Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry has been able to get Mr. Kishida to say that he would restart nuclear power plants, something he could not say even if he wanted to. The Ministry of Defense got a 43 trillion yen increase in defense spending. The bureaucrats have their way.

A secretary to an LDP lawmaker expressed his anger at the current situation.

The LDP suffered ‘three consecutive defeats’ in the most recent local elections in Tokyo: the Tachikawa mayoral election, the supplementary election for the Tachikawa metropolitan assembly, and the Ome mayoral election. There are more than 540 local elections to be held next year, and party members are complaining that ‘Kishida can no longer win. In such a situation, he has no power to dissolve the Diet, and he can’t continue to show his pathetic appearance by doing the bidding of the bureaucrats. The only way is to replace the president’s head.

Within the party, the movement for the post of Kishida is gaining momentum.

In early November, Toshihiro Nikai (84), Suga Yoshihide (75), and others dared to dine with Shigeru Ishiba (66), a long-sought-after candidate for the post, and disclosed their plans to the media. Taro Aso (83), a member of the mainstream faction that does not favor carrying Ishiba, is believed to be pushing for Yoko Kamikawa (70), Minister of Foreign Affairs, who is a member of Kishida’s faction. Mr. Kishida is trying to find a less damaging timing for the dissolution of the Diet in order to prolong his life, but he has too many troubles to do so.

The fate of the Kishida administration, which has been dodging and dodging numerous crises, is finally running out.

From the December 22, 2023 issue of FRIDAY

  • PHOTO. Takeshi Kinugawa

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