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LDP's "Arbitrary" Scope of Punishments over Scandal Under Fire

LDP's "Arbitrary" Scope of Punishments over Scandal Under Fire

   Tokyo, April 3 (Jiji Press)--Some ruling and opposition lawmakers are questioning the Liberal Democratic Party's ongoing plans to punish its members involved in a high-profile political funds scandal, viewing the scope of those who may be subject to penalties as being arbitrary.
   The LDP leadership is seeking an early resolution of the scandal over slush funds created from fundraising party revenues. But the Japanese ruling party would likely come under greater public scrutiny if internal wrangling over the issue is drawn out.
   "Members of the public are viewing us harshly, and we are causing huge distrust in politics," LDP Secretary-General Toshimitsu Motegi said at a liaison meeting of party executives Tuesday, explaining a plan to punish 39 people. "We have determined that those involved (in the scandal) need to be punished."
   Under the plan, believed to be led by Motegi, the LDP will punish those who failed to report 5 million yen or more in political funds statements in the past five years.
   The party initially planned to punish as many as 82 people who were found to have failed to record kickbacks from two party factions previously led by former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and former LDP Secretary-General Toshihiro Nikai, respectively.

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