Amid Lingering Doubts Over Amendments, Hiroshige Seko Plans Political Funding Party by Renaming It as “Secret Fund of 15 Million Yen” | FRIDAY DIGITAL

Amid Lingering Doubts Over Amendments, Hiroshige Seko Plans Political Funding Party by Renaming It as “Secret Fund of 15 Million Yen”

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One of the “Abe Faction Five,” Seko, who had undisclosed funds exceeding 15 million yen in the secret fund issue. It’s difficult to claim he has fulfilled his accountability to the public in a convincing manner.

On June 6, the House of Representatives convened its plenary session, and the amendment to the Political Funds Control Law was passed, clearing the House of Representatives.

This amendment follows a series of clandestine fund incidents involving factions within the Liberal Democratic Party and has been advanced under the leadership of Prime Minister Fumio Kishida (66). Prime Minister Kishida stated, “As a party, we have shown our determination to propose and implement bold and proactive measures,” yet there remain many opaque aspects and questions about its contents.

“The public standard amount has been lowered from the initial over 200,000 yen to over 50,000 yen one year after the enforcement of the amendment, and it has been mandated that the politicians themselves must prepare a confirmation document for the political funds income and expenditure report. Additionally, if these are not prepared or are insufficient, a fine of up to 500,000 yen will be imposed.

On the other hand, there are many loopholes. Among them, a point of contention is the provision to disclose receipts for policy activities after 10 years. Since the statute of limitations for violations of the Political Funds Control Law and the Income Tax Law is five years, even if fraud is discovered at the time of disclosure, it cannot be penalized. While it is commendable that this was established during the current Diet session, Prime Minister Kishida has stated that many details will be discussed after enactment, leaving doubts about whether it is a thorough amendment.” (Reporter from the national newspaper’s social affairs department)

Prime Minister Kishida has shown a strong determination to achieve the passage of the amendment during this Diet session. Behind this effort, it is believed that he aims to restore his approval ratings by passing the amendment, and with that momentum, achieve reelection in the dissolution of the House of Representatives general election and the LDP leadership election.

In line with these developments, various legislators are gearing up for the possibility of a House of Representatives dissolution and general election. Among them is Hiroshige Seko (61), former Secretary-General of the LDP in the House of Councillors, who is actively raising funds in preparation to contest a seat change in the lower house election.

“Hiroshige Seko has long been a prominent figure as the ‘Don of the House of Councillors.’ However, he faced significant scrutiny in the secret fund issue related to political funding parties, with a large amount of undisclosed expenditures revealed. In February of this year, he amended his political funds report to include an additional 15.42 million yen that had not been previously accounted for. Criticism mounted particularly over multiple receipts for purchasing Dom Pérignon champagne, questioning why such expenses were necessary for political activities.

Subsequently, he received one of the party’s most severe penalties, a recommendation to leave the party, and on April 4th of this year, he submitted his resignation from the party. Nevertheless, he has not given up yet. He is already gearing up for the next House of Representatives election, but there are voices of astonishment among stakeholders about his approach.” (LDP insider)

An invitation sent to supporters. The title of the event is “Political and Economic Seminar.” Nevertheless, at the top, there is a small note stating “This is a political funding party.”

The reason LDP insiders are sighing is clear, amid public dissatisfaction over the regulatory law amendments, Hiroshige Seko, who was involved in the controversy, plans to host a political funding party soon.

Seko has already left the LDP and taken responsibility for the series of issues, but he has yet to fulfill his accountability in his own words. Moreover, stakeholders are not hiding their confusion about the timing of the event, which seems too tactless.

“The invitation for Seko’s political funding party arrived in late May. The event itself is scheduled for late June, to be held at a renowned four-star hotel in Tokyo, where the banquet hall has been reserved. The participation fee is also typical for political funding parties at 20,000 yen. However, the event is labeled as a ‘Political and Economic Seminar’—they are being careful about the wording there!” (same source)

Indeed, the invitation obtained by this magazine also labels the event as a “Political and Economic Seminar.” While it may be described as a study session, considering the purpose and participation fee, it is evident that this is a political funding party.


“Seko-san has reportedly been energetically greeting supporters in his hometown of Wakayama Prefecture. Behind such enthusiastic efforts lies the presence of a formidable rival in the same electoral district. In the upcoming election for the new 2nd district of Wakayama Prefecture, former Secretary-General Toshihiro Nikai’s third son, Nobuyasu (46), is also planning to run. For Seko-san, this is a crucial battle where defeat is not an option. Despite the ongoing amendment process concerning the secret fund issue, Seko-san proceeded with announcing the party’s event, likely because he couldn’t afford to delay any longer,” commented a local supporter.

Initially, Prime Minister Kishida had planned to dissolve the Diet at the end of the current session on June 23rd and proceed with a general election. However, judging that even if the amendment were passed, the likelihood of recovering approval ratings was low, he abandoned the idea of dissolving the Diet during the session. It might have seemed prudent to wait and see the outcome of the amendment before making such decisions, but timing can be crucial in politics.

  • PHOTO Kyodo News

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