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Yoshiro Mori, secretary general of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party, on Friday denied media reports that his party has informally asked 10 major banks to contribute political donations totaling 100 million yen. The LDP’s No. 2 man said the party will continue to refrain from accepting donations from Japan’s 10 largest banks, into which trillions of yen in taxpayers’ money were injected to stabilize the nation’s financial system. “We’ve never made a request for donations. Media reports like this are annoying,” Mori told reporters. In October 1998, the LDP announced it would not seek political donations from the nine “city” banks and Industrial Bank of Japan, fearing the public would suspect that any donations are linked to the government’s decision to inject public funds. During the current Diet session, debates and negotiations have heated up over the proposed ban on corporate donations to individual politicians. The opposition camp is demanding stricter restrictions than the proposals presently put forward by the ruling coalition — the LDP, Liberal Party and New Komeito. During the same press conference, Mori also said that he is not considering extending the current Diet session, saying that enough time should be set aside to compile the government’s budget by the end of the year.

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