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Yoshiro Mori, the Liberal Democratic Party’s No. 2 man, proposed on Monday a three-month moratorium on the planned ban on corporate donations to individual politicians, but denied speculation the move is designed to cause a rush to collect funds before a Lower House election. The revised Political Funds Control Law calls for the ban to take effect in January. It was reported that Mori had proposed the idea to the Liberal Party and the New Komeito party, the LDP’s coalition allies, triggering speculation that the LDP would try to raise more funds before the next general election, which could take place as early as January or perhaps by July. But Mori told Monday’s press conference that he proposed the moratorium, which would continue until the end of April, to give lawmakers time to let corporate donators know about the implementation of the ban. The law was passed in 1995. Mori added that many donors now automatically transfer money to politicians’ bank accounts. “You should accept (what I say) at face value,” Mori told reporters, claiming that the media too often reads between the lines of his remarks. Prime Minister Keizo Obuchi has expressed his intention to submit a bill to ban corporate donations to individual politicians, as required by the revised law. However, he and his ruling coalition recently agreed to delete a clause from the same law obliging the government to review corporate donations to political parties, which in effect allows such donations to continue.

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