Japanese PM Apologizes for Political Funds Scandal

Japanese PM Apologizes for Political Funds Scandal

Kishida's attendance at the committee faced criticism from the opposition bloc, who argued that he did not provide new insights into the scandal. The scandal involves allegations of some LDP factions not reporting income from fundraising parties and creating slush funds over several years. Key lawmakers suspected of involvement in the scandal will be questioned during the two-day panel.

In an effort to address the scandal, Kishida proposed introducing guilt by association, where lawmakers would be forced to step down or banned from reelection if their staff members are convicted. Several lawmakers linked to the scandal, including those from the faction once led by the late Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, have decided to participate in the panel following Kishida's appearance.

The government aims to pass the budget for the next fiscal year starting in April, but deliberations have been stalled due to the scandal. Kishida's decision to attend the ethics committee, after a 15-year gap, came amidst clashes between ruling and opposition parties regarding media attendance at the hearings. The council is responsible for examining the conduct of lawmakers facing allegations and can recommend actions like stepping down, although no such measures have been taken in the past.