Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida plans to replace Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno amid media reports he had received undeclared political funds, the Yomiuri newspaper reported on Saturday, citing government and ruling party sources.
The ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) and its leader, Kishida, are facing mounting scrutiny after allegations the party’s lawmakers – including Matsuno and other high-profile members – may have pocketed more than 100 million yen ($693,000) of fundraising proceeds that were left off the books.
Media have reported that Tokyo prosecutors are looking to investigate lawmakers after the current session of parliament ends on Wednesday.
Matsuno is suspected of having failed to declare more than 10 million yen he received in the past five years from the biggest faction in the LDP, the Asahi newspaper and others have reported.
Matsuno has declined to comment on the allegations.
No one was immediately available at Matsuno’s office or the prime minister’s office to comment on the Yomiuri report on Saturday.
Industry Minister Yasutoshi Nishimura and Koichi Hagiuda, chairman of the LDP’s policy research council, are among those suspected of having failed to declare political funds properly, according to Japanese media.
Public support for the Kishida’s government has slid to a record low partly due to voter worries over rising costs and looming tax hikes.