A Social Democratic Party proposal to study measures to restrict activities of politicians who have earlier been convicted of corruption received approval Sept. 30 from a decision-making body of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party.

Measures to be discussed include restrictions on giving such politicians governmental positions as well as on their candidacy in public elections, LDP officials said. Concrete steps will be drawn up during the current extraordinary Diet session.

However, LDP Secretary General Koichi Kato said a legal ban on such activities of convicted politicians will be difficult, suggesting that the restrictions may take the form of internal rules for each political party. The LDP’s executive council also agreed to start discussing during the current session whether to move up a ban on political contributions from corporations and organizations.

Prime Minister Ryutaro Hashimoto, who is also president of the LDP, met with leaders of the SDP and New Party Sakigake to discuss the issue. The SDP and Sakigake are the LDP’s non-Cabinet allies.

The three parties have been discussing political ethics issues since the LDP’s Koko Sato, who was convicted of bribery in 1986 over the Lockheed scandal of the 1970s, resigned as Management and Coordination Agency chief on Sept. 22 due to strong opposition from the public and lawmakers, including those from his own party.

SDP head Takako Doi had insisted on moving up the ban on political contributions earlier than stipulated under the planned law and demanded the revision be approved during the regular Diet session that begins in January. The LDP, however, opposed the idea. The supplementary provisions of the Law to Regulate Money Used for Political Activities says a ban on political contributions will take effect in 2000.

The SDP later softened its stance and proposed that they start discussions as soon as possible to reach an agreement on political contributions during the current extraordinary Diet session.

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