• Kyodo


The ruling Liberal Democratic Party will allow Yuko Obuchi, the former trade minister who resigned over dubious political fund reports, to run in the general election, a senior official in charge of election campaigning said.

Obuchi, who was a rising star in Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s Cabinet, will be allowed to run on the LDP ticket if the party’s Gunma prefectural chapter files a request, the campaign official said.

Prosecutors raided the office of Obuchi’s support group and the home of her former secretary over fund report irregularities, prompting calls in the LDP for her to step down as a Lower House lawmaker.

But Obuchi told senior LDP officials she has no intention of resigning from the Diet.

When she resigned as economy, trade and industry minister on Oct. 20, less than two months after assuming the post, Obuchi told a press conference that she would investigate the irregularities in the fund reports of the political groups linked to her and disclose the outcome.

But since prosecutors have seized the related documents, some LDP members have said Obuchi cannot conduct her own investigation.

The LDP leadership apparently decided that Obuchi does not have to resign as a Diet member, or leave the LDP, because the prosecutors’ probe is still underway.

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