The Japan Federation of Economic Organizations (Keidanren) is not currently soliciting political donations from its member companies, the new head of Keidanren said Monday.

Keidanren Chairman Takashi Imai’s remarks are seen as a response to recent criticism of his earlier comment on political donations.

When asked about Keidanren’s stance on political donations at his inaugural press conference last month, Imai said political contributions by corporations are legal.

But following his remarks, leaders of other business groups expressed a negative attitude toward making corporate political donations, saying that politics should be supported by donations by individuals and public funds that are provided to each political party. “I think my comment resulted in a misunderstanding. At the moment, I have no plans to urge our member companies to make political donations,” Imai told reporters. “It’s the same stance as that of former Chairman (Shoichiro) Toyoda.”

In 1993, then Keidanren Chairman Gaishi Hiraiwa decided to halt Keidanren’s longtime practice of collecting political donations from its member firms. Until then, Keidanren was taking in over 10 billion yen a year in political donations.

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