Political parties and related organizations, including support groups for individual politicians, collected a record 13.7 billion yen through fundraising events in 2001, according to a government report issued Thursday.

The amount, collected by 4,363 entities, was up 3.9 percent from the year before, says the annual report by the Public Management, Home Affairs, Post and Telecommunications Ministry.

The government started compiling such statistics in 1993.

The number of these groups that held fundraisers totaled 366, up 29 from the previous year, the report says.

Political analysts said the increase in the amount of money collected at fundraisers indicates the events are becoming a major source of political funds and are even starting to eclipse political donations from corporations.

The law banning donations to individual politicians was enacted on Jan. 1, 2000, in a bid to sever cozy ties between the political and business worlds. Punishments for violators were imposed in April 2000.

The political parties and related organizations collected 155.9 billion yen in political funds in 2001, down 0.6 percent from the year before, says the report on income and expenditures on political funds for 2001. The report includes donations and government subsidies.

According to the report, income from membership and other fees charged by the parties and related organizations fell 4.3 percent from the year before to 4.7 billion yen.

Income from business-related activities, including fundraising events, rose 5.6 percent to 58.5 billion yen, while income generated from individual donations fell 13.2 percent to 7.4 billion yen. Donations from corporations and groups fell 16.3 percent to 4.5 billion yen.

Donations from political groups fell 7.4 percent to 20 billion yen, while income from government subsidies totaled 31.4 billion yen, with overall income falling by 10.1 percent, according to the report.

Total expenditures by the parties and related organizations fell 7 percent to 162.3 billion yen.

An independent survey conducted by Kyodo News found that 34 lawmakers and former lawmakers, including Kiyomi Tsujimoto, had received a total of 48 million yen in donations from their government-paid secretaries.

Tsujimoto resigned from the House of Representatives in late March over allegedly misusing her secretaries’ salaries. She said earlier she had misused more than 23 million yen the government paid for her aides between 1996 and 1998 to run her office.

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