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Japan’s top gov’t spokesperson resigns over funds scandal

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Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno, the top government spokesperson, submitted his letter of resignation on Thursday, as the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP)’s funds scandal escalates, local media reported.

Matsuno, embroiled in the political fundraising scandal, is suspected of receiving more than 10 million yen (69,000 U.S. dollars) from kickbacks from fundraising events hosted by his party faction, Kyodo News said, citing investigative sources.

The LDP has recently been under heavy scrutiny amid accusations that its largest faction, namely Seiwaken, or the Seiwa policy study group previously led by the late former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, failed to declare hundreds of millions of yen in fundraising events revenue in political funding reports, possibly pooling secret funds.

Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry Yasutoshi Nishimura, Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Ichiro Miyashita and Minister for Internal Affairs and Communications Junji Suzuki, all of whom are members of the Abe faction, submitted their resignations earlier in the day, according to media reports.

The mass resignations leave the LDP in the very unusual situation of having no representatives from the party’s largest faction within the Cabinet, the report said

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