The ruling party has asked its two allies — the Social Democratic Party and New Party Sakigake — to postpone their self-imposed deadline to April 17 for a bill to ban lawmakers from raising funds through influence-peddling.
The postponement, the second of its kind, was made because the Liberal Democratic Party failed to reach a consensus on the issue by April 10. During a meeting of the three parties’ secretaries general, Koichi Kato, the LDP Secretary General, promised that the LDP would not fail to meet the new deadline, SDP Secretary General Shigeru Ito told reporters. By saying that “the SDP will make a serious decision,” Ito implied the SDP would leave the alliance if the LDP misses deadline again.
The first postponement was made earlier this month during a meeting of the parties’ top leaders. They were originally supposed to come to a conclusion about the matter by the end of March.
The proposed legislation, strongly backed by the SDP, would ban lawmakers from receiving money in exchange for lobbying government officials for preferential treatment when signing contracts or issuing government licenses. Political observers said that, if enacted, the proposed law would deprive LDP politicians of a traditional method of collecting funds. Many of the politicians have accepted money in exchange for persuading government officials to favor specific individuals, firms and organizations.
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