Who could have predicted that 2024 would dawn with a large earthquake and major aircraft accident? For many in Japan, it has been a sad and unfulfilling start to the year.

Japan's domestic politics is also in turmoil. On Jan. 7, a lawmaker from the Liberal Democratic Party belonging to the faction previously led by late former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was accused of failing to report ¥48 million in kickbacks received from his faction on his political funds balance sheet. Yoshitaka Ikeda was arrested by the Tokyo District Public Prosecutors Office for violating the political funds control law — and other lawmakers could meet a similar fate.

In their editorials, liberal newspapers have criticized the LDP’s faction system and called for its elimination, while conservative media have tended to highlight that politics involves certain costs, and that abolishing corporate and group donations would be a step too far.