LDP Proposes Party Subsidy Halts for Fund Law Violations

Yomiuri Shimbun file photo
The Liberal Democratic Party’s headquarters in Chiyoda Ward, Tokyo.

Tokyo (Jiji Press)—Japan’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party on Wednesday presented a draft amendment to its bill revising the political funds control law that calls for suspending state subsidies to political parties if member lawmakers violate the law.

The draft was shown at a meeting of executives from the special political reform committee of the House of Representatives, the lower parliamentary chamber.

The subsidy suspension plan reflects demands from Komeito, the LDP’s junior coalition partner. Komeito is expected to support the amendment, but it said at the meeting that it will consider the matter internally.

Meanwhile, opposition parties slammed the amendment. With the LDP seeking to pass its bill through the Lower House as early as this week, the ruling and opposition blocs are expected to continue discussions.

The LDP’s draft also calls for lawmakers to record in their political funds reports the year and month in which they used so-called policy activity funds received from their parties, as well as for a provision seeking a review of the law three years after the revision enters effect.

Tax benefits to promote donations by individuals, the exclusion from tax breaks of donations by lawmakers to party chapters they lead and restrictions on fundraising party ticket purchases by foreign citizens were listed as issues to be discussed in the review.

Meanwhile, the draft does not include the Komeito-proposed rule of mandating the disclosure of information on fundraising party ticket buyers spending more than ¥50,000 per event. The threshold under the LDP draft is over ¥100,000 .

The provision for the review of the revised law would leave open the possibility that the threshold might be lowered in the future. The LDP devised the provision possibly to get Komeito to back the LDP bill.

However, Komeito’s Yasuhiro Nakagawa told reporters that the party will discuss its response, saying that “parts of our claims have not been reflected.”

Hirofumi Ryu, parliamentary affairs official at the main opposition Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan, slammed the LDP amendment, saying that none of the opposition’s demands are included. The CDP, Nippon Ishin no Kai (Japan Innovation Party) and other opposition parties seek the full disclosure of policy activity expense receipts and a ban on political donations by corporations and organizations.