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A poll carried out on 142 lawmakers and other members of the Democratic Party of Japan found overwhelming support for regulating political donations from businesses that land public works contracts.

The DPJ carried out the survey on political funding from corporations and organizations as part of efforts to reform the party and create a clean image, in contrast with the ruling Liberal Democratic Party, which has been mired in corruption scandals.

The survey, still in an interim stage, was sent to 440 DPJ members, including prefectural representatives, lawmakers and candidates planning to run in the next House of Representatives election, and 142 have replied so far.

On political contributions from corporations and organizations in general, 30 percent of the respondents said they should be “prohibited immediately” and 51 percent said they are “acceptable but should be more transparent.” Only 1 percent wanted to maintain the status quo.

To improve transparency, 86 percent suggested posting income reports of political funds on the Internet.

On donations from firms with public works contracts, 95 percent of the respondents said they should be regulated to some degree, 56 percent supported prohibiting such donations and 39 percent called for tighter regulations.

Regulations on political donations, which are considered a breeding ground for political corruption, are gradually being strengthened. Since January 2001, such contributions to individual politicians have been prohibited.

Companies are allowed to donate to the headquarters and branches of a political party and party-specific fundraisers, with the annual limit ranging between 7.5 million yen and 100 million yen depending on the size of the business.

Because politicians indirectly benefit from the donations to branches and fundraising events they host, opposition parties are calling for tougher regulations.

The DPJ plans to closely examine the results of its poll and revise the party’s policy regarding donations from businesses within this month.

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