Parties’ donation sources differ

DPJ reliant on private citizens, LDP dependent on businesses

Kyodo News

Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama’s Cabinet ministers received more donations from citizens and less from businesses and organizations than did their counterparts under Taro Aso, an analysis of their 2007 political funds reports showed Saturday.

The donations that Aso’s Liberal Democratic Party-led Cabinet received from businesses and organizations were double the amount received from individuals. But members of Hatoyama’s Democratic Party of Japan-led Cabinet received donations almost equally from business, organizations and individuals.

The DPJ has pledged to revise the Political Funds Control Law and ban donations by businesses and organizations. But political parties are also eligible to receive funds from the government.

The analysis covered the fund management bodies and political party chapters defined as affiliated with lawmakers under the revised Political Funds Control Law.

The Hatoyama Cabinet, launched Wednesday, comprises 18 members including the prime minister. It had a total of 59 affiliated bodies in the reporting year. The Aso Cabinet also had 18 members with a total of 118 affiliated organizations.

The Hatoyama Cabinet received around ¥204 million from individuals, ¥50 million more than the Aso’s Cabinet received in the year. Hatoyama himself was the recipient of the largest sum from individuals, around ¥52 million, followed by Vice Prime Minister Naoto Kan, who raked in roughly ¥27 million.

Hatoyama’s sum is adjusted for a revision after revelations that some donations were made under the names of dead people, an issue Hatoyama said he needs to explain to the public.

The members of the DPJ-led Cabinet obtained approximately ¥205 million in donations from businesses and organizations. Shizuka Kamei, minister in charge of postal and financial services, logged the largest amount, around ¥50 million, in that category.

Kamei is the leader of Kokumin Shinto (People’s New Party), one of the DPJ’s junior coalition partners.

Second came Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Minister Hirotaka Akamatsu with around ¥41 million.

No donations from businesses and organizations were reported by Health, Labor and Welfare Minister Akira Nagatsuma. His office said: “Since he was first elected to office, we have received no donations from businesses and organizations. It is to not cause suspicions of collusion.”

The members of the Aso Cabinet had around ¥147 million in donations by individuals and ¥282 million by businesses and organizations.

In the Aso Cabinet, the largest recipient of individual donations was Toshihiro Nikai, former trade and industry minister, with around ¥26 million, while Akira Amari, former minister in charge of administrative reform, reported the biggest corporate donations of around ¥37 million.