The politician viewed as the likely successor to Prime Minister Noboru Takeshita acknowledged Friday that his wife received a monthly consultant's fee from the publishing company at the center Japan's political scandal.

Shintaro Abe, secretary-general of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party, called a news conference to confirm a report that his wife, Yoko Abe, received $2,300 a month as a consultant for Recruit Co. from February 1986 to September 1988.The disclosure by Mainichi Shimbun, a major daily newspaper, has left the LDP without a strong candidate untouched by the scandal to replace Takeshita when his term expires in the fall.