Vote On Political Funds Law Revision Bill Postponed; LDP Rewrites Expense Disclosure Amendment At Nippon Ishin’s Request

Yomiuri Shimbun file photo
The Diet Building in Chiyoda Ward, Tokyo

The House of Representatives Special Committee on Political Reform decided in its board meeting Tuesday to postpone a question-and-answer session in which Prime Minister Fumio Kishida was to be present, as well as a following vote on a bill to revise the Political Funds Control Law, both of which had been scheduled for that day.

The postponement followed the Liberal Democratic Party’s decision, in light of objections by Nippon Ishin (Japan Innovation Party), to withdraw the version of the revision bill submitted Monday and submit a new version.

At the meeting, LDP lawmaker Keitaro Ono, the chief director for the ruling parties on the committee, requested to adjourn and cancel the submission of the bill to a plenary session in the lower house. After the board meeting, Ono, speaking to the media, apologized for the inconvenience caused.

In connection with this, LDP Diet Affairs Committee Chairperson Yasukazu Hamada met with Jun Azumi, his counterpart in the Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan, in the Diet building on Tuesday morning to coordinate future schedules.

Hamada and Azumi basically agreed on major points: the bill would be questioned with Kishida in attendance and then be voted on by the committee on Wednesday before being voted on at a plenary session on Thursday. Azumi criticized the LDP’s handling as “getting terribly off track.”

An amendment to the bill submitted Monday by the LDP to the lower house stipulated that amounts on receipts for policy activity expenses were to be disclosed after 10 years “if they exceed ¥500,000,” to which Ishin objected so strenuously that it was ready to reverse course and oppose the bill. As a result, the LDP, which values consensus among the ruling and opposition parties, was forced to reintroduce the bill.

According to sources, the party is considering deleting the ¥500,000 threshold and resubmitting the amendment to the lower house on Wednesday, in accordance with Ishin’s demand.