The Democratic Party of Japan, the largest opposition force, submitted a bill Tuesday to the Lower House to close loopholes in the Political Funds Control Law by prohibiting the transfer of money from local party chapters to individual politicians. Facing mounting public criticism of the Liberal Democratic Party’s attempt to keep the current corporate donation system intact, the LDP and its two coalition allies — the Liberal Party and New Komeito — had earlier decided to submit a bill that would ban corporate donations to individual politicians starting Jan. 1, as required by the Political Funds Control Law. Even when the proposed ban is introduced, however, politicians will be able to continue to receive corporate donations through local party chapters, which are now allowed to freely transfer money to individual politicians. The DPJ’s bill is designed to close this loophole. The DPJ bill would also limit the number of local chapters, allowing one each per municipality, prefecture and electoral constituency. Currently there are no limits on creating chapters, enabling politicians to establish a number of chapters under different names, often only for the sake of increasing the amount of donations they can receive.
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