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In an apparent bid to attract a younger generation to help fund the party, the Liberal Democratic Party will accept individual contributions via the Internet starting late next week, LDP member Hiroshige Seko said Friday.

Individuals will also be able to make donations via i-mode mobile phones.

“We plan to ask passersby to make donations at public meetings,” said Seko, the LDP’s multimedia division chief. “If they support the party’s policies, they will be able to immediately make a donation via i-mode.”

The LDP has long depended on contributions from interest groups and private companies, but Seko said he hopes the simplicity of the new system will lead to an increase in donations from individuals.

The party will accept donations as small as 500 yen, but payments can only be taken from U.S. credit card firms Visa and MasterCard.

Other politicians, including Hiroshi Kumagai, a senior member of the Democratic Party of Japan, began accepting small contributions via the Internet in September, but the LDP will be the first party to do so.

Individual contributions via the Net drew public attention after Sen. John McCain, who competed with George W. Bush for nomination as the Republican presidential candidate, raked in over $1 million within 48 hours via the Net after his New Hampshire primary win over Bush in February 2000.

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