Drill Yuko and Ms. Eiffel: Exposing Slush Fund Suspicions in LDP’s Political Reform Headquarters | FRIDAY DIGITAL

Drill Yuko and Ms. Eiffel: Exposing Slush Fund Suspicions in LDP’s Political Reform Headquarters

Despite the fact that this is Prime Minister Kishida's initiative, there are three faction leaders and ten Abe faction members involved in the "slush fund" issue, along with scandalous members such as Seiji Kihara, Yuko Obuchi, Rui Matsukawa, and Ichiro Aizawa....

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The head of the headquarters, Fumio Kishida (66), and the highest advisor, Yoshihide Suga (75), are divided in their opinions regarding faction dissolution. These two should be leading the reform of the Liberal Democratic Party, but somehow they seem lacking in energy.

“We need to return to the founding spirit of the Liberal Democratic Party, which states that politics exists for the sake of the people. We, the Liberal Democratic Party, must change.”

At the first meeting of the LDP’s Political Reform Headquarters on January 11, Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, the head of the LDP’s Political Reform Headquarters, stressed the need for the LDP to return to the spirit of the Liberal Democratic Party’s founding, that politics is for the people.

“The Political Reform Headquarters was initially established in response to suspicions of slush funds surrounding political funding parties led by factions within the party, notably the Abe faction. As former Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga, the highest advisor, mentioned, the dissolution of factions should be the starting point, aiming to boldly reform the Liberal Democratic Party.

However, there are already discrepancies emerging, with Taro Aso, former prime minister and leader of the Shikokai faction, advocating for the effectiveness of factions in a separate meeting. Prime Minister Fumio Kishida also seems hesitant to dissolve factions, possibly due to his strong ties to his own faction, the Koizumi faction, and lacks any sense of involvement. Among the ten members of the headquarters from the Abe faction, nine are directly implicated in the slush fund suspicions. It’s unclear what the true intention behind all this.”  (Koichi Kakutani, a political journalist)

The secretary general of the reform headquarters is Seiji Kihara, former deputy chief cabinet secretary, who was reported to have an illegitimate child and to have allegedly interfered in police investigations; the deputy director general is Yuko Obuchi, 50, the election campaign chairman, and the deputy director general is Ichiro Aizawa, 69, a Lower House member who has caused a stir by allegedly going to illegal sex clubs in the past.

Exactly what criteria were used for the selection of personnel? A condition for speaking is anonymity, according to LDP staff.

“The list of members was created by party staff in the secretary-general’s office under the direction of Toshimitsu Motegi, the secretary-general of the Liberal Democratic Party (68), and it was approved by the Prime Minister’s Office. The staff in charge were instructed to compile the list of members just two days before the first meeting, which took place on the 11th, on January 9th. It’s said that the members of the parliament were also suddenly informed about it.”

The reason why “Eiffel Sister,” also known as Rui Matsukawa, a member of the Abe faction in the House of Councillors (52), who was criticized for her Paris trip being seen as a sightseeing tour, couldn’t attend the first meeting, had such a background. Nevertheless, couldn’t they have avoided selecting only controversial lawmakers for the committee?

“If you assemble it around former youth bureau chiefs and female bureau chiefs like Shinjiro Koizumi, the former Minister of the Environment (42), this is what you get. It’s a performance aimed at concluding, ‘We received tough opinions from young people.’

Looking at the overall composition, you’ll understand that in reality, many members come from major factions, while fewer come from minor factions. Since party staff laid the groundwork, the personnel seems to be more attentive to internal party concerns than to the public. In the end, this so-called ‘reform headquarters’ appears to be merely a way to alleviate public dissatisfaction.”


Does Prime Minister Kishida seriously believe that the Liberal Democratic Party will change with such a comical reform headquarters?

Secretary Shinjiro Koizumi, 42, has strongly expressed support for former Prime Minister Kan’s theory of factional dissolution. Will he be able to spearhead reform and bring his dream of becoming prime minister closer?
Deputy Head of the Headquarters, Toshimitsu Motegi (68), is said to have led the formation of the Refresh Headquarters as the party’s secretary-general, but he himself is also the head of the Heisei Research Group and appears to be cautious about faction dissolution.
Secretary-General, Seiji Kihara (53), has faced past allegations related to a hidden child issue and suspicions of interfering with police investigations into the suspicious death of his wife’s ex-husband.
Deputy Director-General, Yuko Kobuchi (50), was involved in the “Drill Yuko” incident. In 2014, she was investigated on suspicion of violating the Political Funds Control Act, and there were allegations that evidence was destroyed with a drill.
Secretary, Rui Matsukawa (52), known as the “Eiffel Sister” of the Abe faction, was a hopeful figure in the conservative faction, serving as the director of the women’s bureau. However, her enthusiastic behavior during a Paris inspection became a drawback.
Deputy Chief, Ichiro Ozawa (69), faced allegations of illegal escort services. At the age of 65, he was reported to be a regular customer of illegal escort services, having spent approximately 15 million yen, which brought dishonor upon him..
Secretary, Fusae Ota (72), a former Osaka Prefectural Governor affiliated with the Abe faction, serves as the spokesperson for the Abe faction members within the reform headquarters. During his tenure as Osaka Prefectural Governor, allegations of violations of the Political Funds Control Act surfaced.
Deputy Chief of Staff, Naoki Okada (61), affiliated with the Abe faction, serves as the acting secretary-general. He is implicated in the series of slush fund issues. Despite the downfall of the “Five Elders” and other executives, he still maintains a presence within the Abe faction, but doubts remain unaddressed.
Secretary, Nori Sasaki (49), affiliated with the Abe faction, was involved in the COVID-19 blame-shifting controversy. In 2020, he sparked outrage by posting on his social media account regarding the coronavirus, saying, “Don’t blame the country for it.”

From “FRIDAY” February 2 and 9, 2024

  • PHOTO Takeshi Kinugawa (Kishida, Kan, Koizumi, Mogi, Kihara, Obuchi, Matsukawa) Afro (Aizawa, Ota, Sasaki) Kyodo News (Okada)

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