Japan's Chief Cabinet Secretary allegedly received $70,000 in kickbacks: Report

World Friday 08/December/2023 14:23 PM
Japan's Chief Cabinet Secretary allegedly received $70,000 in kickbacks: Report

Tokyo: Japan's Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno is alleged to have received more than 10 million yen ($70,000) in kickbacks from fundraising events hosted by his party faction, a source close to the matter said, Kyodo News reported.

Kyodo News is a non-profit cooperative news agency based in Minato, Tokyo.

Matsuno belongs to the ruling Liberal Democratic Party's largest faction, formerly headed by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, which has been recently suspected to have pooled secret funds amounting to over 100 million yen.

Following reports of the alleged kickbacks, Matsuno said he had no intention to resign when speaking at a regular press conference on Friday.

He said: "I will continue to fulfil my duties with a sense of responsibility." He added that his faction is currently in the process of verifying the facts related to the allegations.

Prosecutors have started investigating the kickbacks scandal following a criminal complaint alleging that five LDP factions, including Prime Minister Fumio Kishida's group, underreported their revenue from political fundraising parties.

LDP factions have traditionally set their lawmakers quotas for party tickets, usually priced at 20,000 yen, investigative sources said, adding if they surpass their targets, the extra income is returned as kickbacks in some intraparty groups, as per Kyodo News.

The biggest faction, Seiwaken, or the Seiwa policy study group, reported collecting around 660 million yen in party revenue over five years through 2022, according to its political funds reports.

Out of 100 lawmakers in the faction, at least ten have received kickbacks, with some given 10 million yen or more, the sources said, adding that prosecutors are considering interrogating them once the ongoing parliamentary session ends on December 13.