Diet Passes Political Funds Bill after LDP Money Scandal

The yomiuri Shimbun
A debate was held on Wednesday morning at a plenary session of the House of Councillors on a bill to revise the Political Funds Control Law.

Tokyo (Jiji Press)—The Diet, Japan’s parliament, on Wednesday approved a bill submitted by the ruling Liberal Democratic Party to revise the political funds control law in the wake of the party’s “slush fund” scandal.

The bill was approved at the day’s plenary meeting of the House of Councillors, the upper chamber of the Diet, with support from the LDP and its coalition partner, Komeito.

Opposition parties, including the Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan and Nippon Ishin no Kai (Japan Innovation Party), voted against the bill.

Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, who is also president of the LDP, hopes that the enactment of the bill will be a milestone in political reform after the LDP scandal, which is the focal point in the second half of the ongoing ordinary Diet session through Sunday, and will help restore public trust.

Opposition parties, however, claimed that the LDP bill had many “loopholes” and left many issues for further consideration.

Later on Wednesday, a parliamentary debate between party leaders will be held for the first time in three years. The CDP is poised to then submit a no-confidence motion against the Kishida cabinet, urging the prime minister to dissolve the House of Representatives, the all-important lower chamber, for a general election.

The revised law will introduce a guilt-by-association system to suspend the civil rights of lawmakers if their treasurers are punished for failing to include some funds in their political funds reports and the lawmakers fail to check the reports properly.

It will also lower the minimum purchase amount per fundraising event for disclosing information on ticket buyers from over ¥200,000 to over ¥50,000 .

Meanwhile, a third-party organization will be established to check how lawmakers use the so-called policy activity funds they receive from their parties. Receipts for spending from the funds will be disclosed after 10 years, as demanded by Nippon Ishin. But the details of both measures will be discussed later between the ruling and opposition camps.

The revised law, which will take effect on Jan. 1, 2026, except for some parts, does not include a ban on political donations by companies and organizations and the abolition of the policy activity funds, both of which were demanded by the opposition.

Nippon Ishin supported the LDP bill in the Lower House, following an agreement late last month between its leader, Nobuyuki Baba, and Kishida. In the Upper House, however, the party turned against the bill and even submitted a censure motion against Kishida, after the LDP decided to skip a law revision during the current Diet session to reform the so-called research, public relations and accommodation allowances for lawmakers, an item included in the agreement.