With Saturday's passage of the 2024 fiscal budget by the Lower House, Prime Minister Fumio Kishida faces three tough questions in the coming weeks: how to discipline Liberal Democratic Party members over the political slush fund scandal, how to prepare for three by-elections on April 28, and how to get along with the party’s top officials.

The answers to those questions could well impact his — and his party’s — political futures.

In response to public anger over the political slush fund scandal, which involved kickbacks from political fundraising events to LDP members in factions, most in the one led by former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Kishida announced on Feb. 28 that he would appear before a political ethics committee to explain the scandal, despite the fact that he was not directly involved.