Prime Minister Fumio Kishida has been compelled to rely more on former Prime Minister Taro Aso, called a "kingmaker" by critics, to maintain his administration amid a political fundraising scandal involving his Liberal Democratic Party.

The move underscored how Kishida's political influence is plunging as more LDP lawmakers have begun to doubt his leadership and ability to handle the scandal, making him more isolated within the ruling party, political experts said.

When Kishida replaced several ministers and LDP executives belonging to the largest faction at the center of the scandal in December, Aso, who was in power for one year through 2009, is believed to have played a role in finding some of their successors.