The ruling coalition’s new proposal on corporate donations to political parties would probably conceal the identities of most donors, according to a recent Kyodo News study.
The research, based on the 2001 official political fund reports submitted by all parliamentarians, indicates that 80 percent of corporate and other institutional donors would be under no obligation to disclose their identities. That is because the proposed rule would raise the minimum amount of donations requiring identity disclosure to 240,000 yen per year from 50,000 yen now.
The proposal, which requires revising the Political Funds Control Law, is not expected to clear the Diet in the current session, which ends Monday, and instead will be carried over to the next session.
Opposition parties may step up their criticism, saying the proposed rule will sharply reduce the transparency of political funds that corporate and other institutional donors extend.
The study indicates 506 Diet members received corporate and institutional donations in the name of the heads of political party chapters.
On average, each chapter disclosed the identities of donors for 69 contributions. If the proposed rule takes effect, each chapter would only be required to unveil the identities for 13.6 donations.
The envisioned rule also means identity disclosure would be required only for 44 percent of the amount of donations received for each member, down from the current 85 percent.
The proposed revision to the law would reduce the maximum amount of donations a donor may make to one chapter to 1.5 million yen from the current range of between 7.5 million yen and 100 million yen, depending on the scale of the company or institution.
But the study shows that donations exceeding 1.5 million yen were not so significant, totaling 336 for all members. Even if these donations had been reduced to 1.5 million yen, the overall amount of donations parliamentarians received would have fallen only 7 percent.
By party, donations to the Liberal Democratic Party averaged 23.27 million yen per chapter. Identity disclosure is required for an average 93.1 donations, but the proposed rule would reduce this to 18.8.
The Democratic Party of Japan, the nation’s largest opposition party, received 6.48 million yen per chapter, requiring disclosure for an average 25.6 cases of donations. The proposed revision would make the disclosure requirement mandatory for only four cases.