Ruling Japanese Political Party Approves New Party Rules

The current ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) of Japan approved changes to the party’s rules surrounding political funds on March 17th. The changes are a bid to regain public trust after a slush funds scandal in which party members failed to report a portion of their income from fundraising events.

The LDP promised to move away from using factions as vehicles to gather funding and from assigning government and party positions to lawmakers. However, the party will continue to allow for internal party groups as “policy groups.”

Current Prime Minister (PM) Fumio Kishida has promised to “take the lead” in restoring public confidence and apologizing for “inviting suspicion and mistrust.”

Eighty out of 370 LDP members failed to fully declare their income in internal documents to track political funds. However, the party has not investigated where the unreported income went or said what the funds were ultimately used for.

The new rules ensure that the LDP can demand a lawmaker leave the party if a lawmaker or their political group’s accountant is arrested or charged for violations of fund laws. However, the updated ruling will not extend to those lawmakers involved in the scandals.