Politicians could serve up to three years in prison for receiving “profit” in return for providing political favors, according to a draft of a proposed bill agreed to by the three ruling parties Tuesday.
The draft, jointly mapped out by by the Liberal Democratic Party, New Komeito and the New Conservative Party, would require Diet members, mayors, governors or members of local legislatures to serve a maximum three-year prison term should they receive profit — as yet an undefined term — in reward for exercising their political influence upon civil servants in an attempt to provide political favors.
If found guilty, the politician would also be stripped of his or her voting rights for five years and would not be able to run in an election for 10 years, the draft says.
It also stipulates that publicly hired secretaries of politicians would face up to two years in prison for similar actions. Privately hired secretaries, however, would not be subject to punishment, according to the draft.
The party which provided the profit to a politician, meanwhile, could be sentenced to up to one year in prison or face a maximum fine of 2.5 million yen, it says.
The authorities will seize profits from, or impose penalties on, a third party who benefits financially from a politician’s favors.
Following the draft’s release, each of the three parties began efforts to gain approval for the draft from rank-and-file party members.
At a meeting of an LDP panel on political reforms later Tuesday, a number of lawmakers claimed that the definition of “profit” in the draft should be further clarified because of its ambiguity. The panel agreed to discuss the issue again Thursday.
The ruling triumvirate plans to submit the bill at the outset of the extraordinary Diet session, which is scheduled to begin Sept. 21.
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