Parties in the ruling alliance launched efforts Thursday to draft a bill mandating bureaucratic discipline amid the bribery scandal rocking the Finance Ministry.The ruling Liberal Democratic Party set up an internal panel, while the Social Democratic Party, one of the LDP’s two non-Cabinet allies, announced a draft of its version of such a bill. The SDP proposal bans bureaucrats from dining with or receiving traditional seasonal gifts from businesspeople in industrial sectors over which they have influence.The outline of the bill consists of 12 activities government employees must avoid doing with people in business sectors under their jurisdiction. These include being treated, playing sports, traveling, receiving farewell gifts, receiving the traditional midyear “chugen” and yearend “seibo” gifts, receiving pay for lecturing or writing for publications.The bill also requires bureaucrats who are ranked above an as yet unspecified level to make public their salaries and other income, personal assets, such as landholdings and houses, personal savings, stockholdings and golf course memberships, cars, boats and works of art valued above a certain price.The bill says a watchdog body independent of government control should be created to monitor bureaucrats’ behavior. Penalty-related clauses of the bill will come after party members have discussed the issue sufficiently, said Masako Owaki, head of the party’s panel on the issue.LDP policy chief Taku Yamasaki told the first meeting of the panel that, considering the gravity and urgency of the issue, the panel would be formed with senior members of the party’s policy affairs research council.

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