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Ozawa top fund raiser in 2012

Kyodo

Ichiro Ozawa, leader of the minor opposition force Seikatsu no To (People’s Life Party), raised more political funds than any other Diet member in 2012, reclaiming the top spot for the first time in two years, official data showed Saturday.

Ozawa, a House of Representatives veteran who previously wielded huge power in both the Liberal Democratic Party and Democratic Party of Japan, raked in ¥359.08 million last year through fundraising groups and party branches, up from ¥232.90 million in 2011, the government’s political funds report said.

He was followed by conservative heavyweight Shizuka Kamei, former leader of the now-defunct Kokumin Shinto (People’s New Party), who raised ¥328.63 million, and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of the Liberal Democratic Party, who raised ¥256.74 million.

Independent Lower House lawmaker Takeshi Tokuda, currently embroiled in a campaign violation involving his family, tumbled to fourth from the top spot in 2011, collecting ¥256.57 million. In fifth place was Finance Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Taro Aso, who raised ¥254.40 million.

Of the top 30 fundraisers, the now-ruling LDP accounted for 23, or more than 70 percent. The average amount raised per lawmaker came to ¥41.30 million.

By party, members of Ozawa’s Seikatsu no To raised ¥55.70 million on average, followed by the LDP with ¥48.31 million, small opposition group Shinto Kaikaku (New Renaissance Party) with ¥48.03 million, and the DPJ, the largest opposition force, with ¥43.79 million.

The report also covered governors’ funds, led by Aichi Gov. Hideaki Omura with ¥81.64 million. Tokyo Gov. Naoki Inose, under fire for receiving ¥50 million from a hospital group involved in Tokuda’s fund scandal, came in 12th with ¥21.81 million.