There was a scheme when Chairman Mori was in office” and “Kishida will be ousted from his position as Prime Minister” Former Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology, Hirofumi Shimomura, let loose with a big speech. | FRIDAY DIGITAL

There was a scheme when Chairman Mori was in office” and “Kishida will be ousted from his position as Prime Minister” Former Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology, Hirofumi Shimomura, let loose with a big speech.

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Shimomura’s tongue is smooth at the “Young Hakubunkai”©Yuria Fukatsuki

On March 25, former LDP Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science, and Technology Hirofumi Shimomura (69) was eloquent. When he stood up to explain the issue of slush funds from political fund parties at the Political Ethics Committee on March 18, he repeatedly stated, “I don’t know” or “I don’t know. On the day of the meeting, he was very smooth and revealed “new facts” one after another.

Before introducing Mr. Shimomura’s outburst, let us take a quick look back at what he has said and done so far regarding the slush fund issue. According to Yasutoshi Nishimura, 61, a former Abe Faction official, told the Political Ethics Committee, in April 2010, at a meeting of Abe Faction executives, former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, the chairman of the Abe Faction, proposed the suspension of kickbacks for exceeding the quota for faction party ticket sales. The proposal was temporarily dropped, but after the death of former Prime Minister Abe, there were calls from within the faction to reinstate it, so in August, a meeting was held among four executives, including Nishimura, Shimomura, Tate Shioya (74), and Hiroshige Seko (61), to discuss the issue. No decision was reached at that meeting, but the kickbacks were restored in August.

Meanwhile, Shimomura held a press conference in January of this year and said that “someone” at an Abe faction executive meeting in August 2010 had stepped forward with the idea of kickbacks for exceeding the faction party ticket sales quota by adding the amount to the party sales of individual lawmakers, but the Political Ethics Commission rejected the idea. However, when asked by LDP member Yosei Ide (46) who this person was, he simply replied, “I don’t remember.

At the same hearing, Manabu Terada, 47, a member of the Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ), referred to reports that Yoshiro Mori, 86, met with Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, 66, after Abe’s death and asked him to appoint five influential members of Abe’s faction, the so-called “five men. Referring to reports that Mr. Mori had a great deal of influence on the faction’s management, he said, “I suspect that Mr. Mori is behind the ‘five members,'” and “I suspect that kickbacks began with the revision of the Political Funds Control Law in 1999, when Mr. Mori was president of the Abe faction (then known as the Mori faction). Shimomura responded, “I am not aware of it,” and “I don’t know.

Yasuhiro Nakagawa, 56, a member of the New Komeito Party, pointed out that in 2005 the Shizuoka Shimbun had reported allegations of kickbacks by the Abe faction (then the Mori faction). When asked if he really did not know about the kickbacks, Shimomura replied, “My constituency is Tokyo. I don’ t think any of the Tokyo media reported such a thing.

Shimomura, who was not included in the five-member panel and was therefore in a better position to speak out, was seen as a key figure in resolving the kickback issue, but his repeated refusal to acknowledge the existence of the kickback issue was widely discouraged.

However, Shimomura, who had decided to keep quiet about the issue at the Diet proceedings, spoke eloquently about the slush fund problem at the Young Man’s Hakubun meeting.

Let us now introduce Mr. Shimomura’s remarks at the “Young Hirobumi Meeting.

First, he stated that there were “twopeople ” who proposed the reinstatement of kickbacks ( *The following statements in parentheses are those of Mr. Shimomura. (*The words in parentheses below are Shimomura’s statements, which have been reproduced as he said them, but where there is a back-and-forth or missing word, Friday Digital has reconstructed it without changing the facts.)

) “Someone” is not the name of an individual, but two people spoke. But I can’t say with certainty which one told me first, and Nishimura-san says, ‘It wasn’t me. If I said something like, “I thought ‘a certain person’ was Nishimura-san,” it would be like giving the opposition party a good (means of pursuit), so I said, “I don’t know” or “I don’t remember. So I said, ‘I don’t know’ or ‘I don’t remember.’ It is not that I am hiding it, but because it is not something that I can be sure of, I said so.

In the first place, the kickback itself should not be restored. That is why we did not come to a conclusion. However, it is true that there was a proposal to add on a party ticket for a faction to buy a party ticket in a legal way when an individual legislator held a party, even though there was no refund. But then, you know, the refund was reinstated. I was not present there myself for it being reinstated, and I didn’t make the decision where I was. I don’t know who made the decision and when, that’s correct, and I told you that.”

The Diet and the Political Ethics Committee got by with “I don’t know” and “I don’t know”.

Regarding the timing of when the kickbacks began in the five-member Abe faction, which Terada questioned, he explained.

He said, “I am aware now, through this series of investigations, that at least from 1999 to 2005, during the time of Chairman Mori, they were working on such a scheme. I had no knowledge of this when I talked to the Prosecutor’s Office prior to the Political Ethics Committee meeting. In the first place, I received a kickback, I guess you would call it, after I became Corona. So you are talking about after 19 years. Before that, I had no idea. It was last December that I found out that the non-reporting of income and expenditure was a problem.

I was told by Representative Manabu Terada of the Rikken that, ‘The reason (the kickback) was revived was because there were five people, and Mr. Mori was behind the five people, and the story started during the time of former Prime Minister Mori, so that’s why you made it (revived) in that way.’ He said something like that. Perhaps they are right. He was probably right, but if I had said that in the Diet, it would have caused a huge uproar. It would be irresponsible to talk about something that was decided without my knowledge. That is why I could not say so. I could say so in a place like this (the Young Hirobunkai), though.

Regarding the Shizuoka Shimbun’s report on the Mori Faction’s kickbacks in 2005, he said, “It was a local newspaper, so I didn’t know about it because Tokyo is my constituency. Later, a member of the Communist Party told me that it had also appeared in the Tokyo Shimbun and the Kanagawa Shimbun (both of which were distributed by Kyodo News), but I had no idea about it, because I don’t read the Tokyo Shimbun.

However, Shimomura’s most heated topic that day was the Kishida administration. Referring to media reports that the LDP’s executive committee is taking the responsibility of former Abe faction leaders seriously and is considering such measures as “denial of recognition” in the next election, suspension of party membership, or recommendation for resignation from the party, Shimomura said, “It is not about resigning from the Diet or leaving the party, but about improving Japanese politics and rebuilding Japan. It’s not about resigning from the Diet or leaving the party, but about improving Japanese politics and rebuilding Japan. It is my responsibility to finish the job. Shimomura then went on to slam the LDP with a sharp tongue.

The LDP has been in existence for nearly 70 years, but it has not pursued its original policies as a conservative party. We have not revised the Constitution, nor have we made any changes to the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty or the Status of Forces Agreement, including the right of collective self-defense.

With so many U.S. military bases in Japan, when the president of the United States comes to Japan, he does not go through Narita or Haneda. The fact that he can enter Japan from Yokota base without official customs clearance is proof that Japan is not an independent nation. During this time, takeoffs and landings at Haneda Airport are considerably restricted. The fact that this is allowed as a matter of course shows that the LDP is not a conservative party in its own right.

After these remarks, Shimomura continued, “The current LDP cannot rebuild Japan,” and he went on to talk about the punishment he expects to receive from the LDP in the near future.

He then went on to talk about the possible punishment he might receive from the LDP in the near future. I thought that might be an opportunity. Prime Minister Kishida may want to hold an election, but after the election is over, he will be ousted from his position as prime minister. There will be a presidential election in September. There will be a presidential election in September, at which time a new president will be elected. Even if a young president is born, the LDP will lose the election unless it is dissolved and changed. In July next year, there will be simultaneous elections for the lower house and the upper house. If the LDP is not rebuilt by then, there will be a major split. There may even be a political realignment. Otherwise, Japan will not be able to stand.

I hope to turn this pinch into an opportunity,” Shimomura concluded his speech.

Secretary-General Mogi and other party executives take a tough stand against Abe faction leaders

On April 1, LDP Secretary General Toshimitsu Mogi, 68, asked the party’s Disciplinary Commission to review the disciplinary actions of lawmakers involved in the slush fund issue. The committee is targeting 39 lawmakers who have failed to report a total of more than 5 million yen over the past five years in their political fund balance reports. The committee is said to have made final adjustments with a view to recommending that Shimomura and other former Abe faction officials leave the party.

Will Mr. Shimomura be able to take advantage of this “chance”?

  • Interview and text by Yuria Fukatsuki

    Graduated from Keio University, Faculty of Law, Department of Political Science. Representative of the Fukatsuki Office. She writes for numerous media and also works as an actress, model, belly dancer, and FM radio personality. She is also actively involved in animal welfare activities and produced her own TV program "Animal Welfare, Living in Harmony with the Earth" for TV Kanagawa.

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