Bill prohibiting malicious solicitation of donations passes lower house

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Prime Minister Fumio Kishida speaks at the Diet on Thursday.

A bill prohibiting malicious solicitations of large donations by groups such as the Unification Church was passed by a majority vote at a plenary session of the House of Representatives on Thursday.

The bill was backed by the ruling coalition of the Liberal Democratic Party and Komeito, as well as the main opposition Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan and Nippon Ishin no Kai.

The government aims to enact the legislation on Saturday after deliberations in the House of Councillors.

The bill prohibits six types of acts when soliciting donations, including the use of so-called spiritual sales tactics. The bill also requires organizations to consider three points, including “not suppressing individuals’ free will and thereby making it difficult for them to make appropriate judgments.”

Prior to the plenary session, the lower house Special Committee on Consumer Affairs also approved the draft bill submitted by the LDP and the CDPJ, which added a provision to make it possible to publicize the names of groups or organizations that break the law and disobey administrative recommendations to take necessary measures.

The committee also adopted 12 provisions, one of which requires the government to provide examples of the obligations intended to deter groups from actions that impact the judgments of donors.

“We’ll do our utmost to ensure that the law is effectively implemented,” Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said on Thursday. “We must carefully monitor the enforcement of the law and changes in society, and then consider necessary revisions.”