Charges Dropped Against Japanese PM Kishida in Political Scandal

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida has been cleared of charges in a political funds scandal after prosecutors dropped the case due to “lack of evidence,” Tokyo-based Kyodo News reported on Tuesday.

The decision also exonerates several current and former lawmakers from the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), which has governed Japan since 1955, with only six years of interruption.

In recent months, Japanese prosecutors have conducted raids, interrogations, and arrests of ruling party members as part of a probe into allegations that five factions underreported revenue from political fundraising events over five years until 2022.

Despite the exoneration of some, several former LDP members have been indicted, leading to a significant decline in public support for the party. The LDP is also facing scrutiny over alleged ties with the controversial Unification Church.

Despite the scandal, LDP-backed candidate Yuriko Koike secured a record third term as Tokyo governor in Sunday’s election. However, analysts believe Koike’s victory will not alleviate the pressure on Kishida, who faces a party leadership contest in the coming months.

In response to the scandal, the Kishida-led LDP has established a task force to pursue political reform and assess the necessity of intra-party factions.–News Desk