In Japan, there is a phrase tied to financial scandals that disrupt the political landscape: seiji to kane, or “politics and money.”

Whenever a scandal emerges that elicits widespread use of this phrase, observers can expect politicized responses aimed at mollifying public outrage rather than coming up with practical solutions to stem the root causes. The result is usually a flurry of window-dressing, a period of discord within political circles and an eventual stabilization until a new seiji to kane problem initiates the next cycle.

The situation surrounding the latest political funding scandal — that is, Liberal Democratic Party factions’ underreporting and misallocation of money from fundraising parties — is no different. Facing significant scrutiny amid already dwindling public opinion ratings, the LDP opted to do away with its factions — a system that has been accused by critics for being opaque, insular and enabling political horse-trading. ​​Factions have such a bad rap, one could call it the F-word in Nagatacho, Japan’s political center.