Ruling bloc unveils joint platform for election

by Masami Ito

The Liberal Democratic Party-New Komeito ruling bloc unveiled its joint campaign platform Wednesday for the Aug. 30 Lower House election, vowing to regain public trust in politics by strengthening regulations on political funds.

In an apparent attack on the LDP’s front-running rival, the Democratic Party of Japan, the ruling bloc said in its platform that Diet members should be held responsible for illegal activities of their secretaries and the Political Funds Control Law should be revised to strengthen punishment.

Since spring, the current and previous leaders of the DPJ have both been embroiled in political funds scandals involving their secretaries.

Ichiro Ozawa relinquished the DPJ helm in the spring after his chief public secretary was arrested on suspicion of receiving illegal corporate donations, and a secretary of Ozawa’s successor, Yukio Hatoyama, reportedly disguised money from Hatoyama’s own funds as donations from individual supporters in Hatoyama’s political fund reports.