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The ruling triumvirate agreed Thursday to delete an article from the Political Funds Control Law that would oblige them to review corporate donations to political parties. They also agreed not to take any legal measures to ban such donations. The agreement came at a meeting of the secretaries general of the three parties. The law, revised in 1994, requires the government to review the practice from 2000. New Komeito, which had insisted the review be carried out so the law will be upheld, backed down from its original stance and caved in to the Liberal Democratic Party’s plan to cross out the article mandating the review from the law. In exchange, New Komeito urged its allies — the LDP and Liberal Party — to continue seeking transparency in such fund flows as well as wider information disclosure by local chapters of parties, which are said to be hotbeds for corporate donations. The revision followed a string of corruption scandals involving LDP members that tainted the government in the 1980s and early 1990s. The LDP and Liberal Party promised to study the issues. Tatsuo Kawabata, Diet affairs committee chairman of the Democratic Party of Japan, criticized the ruling camp’s decision Thursday morning, insisting the DPJ will firmly oppose the deletion of Article 10 from the law. The bills to follow up the law and the review are expected to be submitted to the Diet next week. Last month, the ruling parties reluctantly agreed to ban corporate organizations from donating directly to individual lawmakers from January, as also stipulated in the law. The secretaries general also took up the issue of election system reform, agreeing that the Internet should be banned as an election campaigning tool as other communication media, including direct mail, posters and leaflets, are strictly restricted by law. They also agreed to continue their efforts to establish local suffrage for foreign citizens who are permanent residents of Japan, although the LDP is still reluctant to join such a move.

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