The ruling Liberal Democratic Party has started discussions to review rules for making the handling of political funds by its factions more transparent, in the wake of an ongoing scandal over a secret slush fund that has shaken the party.

Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, who heads the LDP, held the "political reform" panel's first meeting on Thursday. Approval ratings for Kishida's Cabinet have plunged to their lowest levels since he took office in October 2021 against the backdrop of the scandal.

The panel is set to compile an interim report before the ordinary parliamentary session is convened, possibly on Jan. 26, with Kishida saying that the LDP "has to change" in order to restore the public's trust in politics and protect Japan's democracy.