Japan’s Kishida plans new party group to help rebuild trust following allegations

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Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said he’ll set up a new group within his ruling Liberal Democratic Party next month tasked with restoring trust after allegations over a widespread failure to declare political funds.

Kishida spoke to reporters about his plans late on Monday, hours before the Asahi newspaper reported that former LDP policy chief Koichi Hagiuda was the latest senior figure to have been questioned by prosecutors about the scandal.

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The allegations have helped push disapproval for Kishida’s government to its highest since 1947 in one major poll. While no general election has to be held until 2025, a failure to revive public support could prompt the LDP to seek to replace Kishida before his term runs out in September.

Asahi cited unidentified sources close to the matter. Tokyo prosecutors declined to comment on the reports, while calls to Hagiuda’s office in Tokyo went unanswered.

Hagiuda, who stepped down last week from his position as an LDP executive, is the latest in a series of high-ranking lawmakers reported to have undergone questioning over the alleged concealment of money generated from fundraising events, including the former top government spokesman.

Tokyo prosecutors also raided the headquarters of two LDP factions earlier this month, one of them previously headed by the late former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and the other led by Toshihiro Nikai.

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