OYAMA, Shizuoka Pref. — The Japan Business Federation (Nippon Keidanren) will draw up an outline by the end of September detailing how to proceed with its new system for promoting political donations, Chairman Hiroshi Okuda said Friday.
Okuda said Nippon Keidanren will announce a priority agenda it wants politicians to pursue later in the year, comprising 10 to 15 measures featuring numerical targets.
If the House of Representatives election takes place this fall, the lobby group hopes that showing the outline may affect parties’ pledges, Okuda told a news conference on the last day of Nippon Keidanren’s annual summer seminar.
Nippon Keidanren announced in May it will revive a system next year of promoting political donations. Such practices were halted in 1994, following a raft of scandals involving companies and politicians and the Liberal Democratic Party’s fall from power.
According to the new mechanism, after setting its priority agenda, Nippon Keidanren will evaluate political parties on their success in achieving prescribed goals.
“We will work to make our mechanism a better one by discussing details at our in-house committee,” said Okuda, who is chairman of Toyota Motor Corp.
Political donations were a major issue at the two-day forum. Business leaders who participated in the meeting supported the approach, saying it would help Nippon Keidanren revive its influence over national politics.
“Japan needs to increase its global competitiveness,” said Sony Corp. Chairman Nobuyuki Idei.
Nippon Keidanren can clearly articulate its stance on various issues by indicating the policies it wants realized, he said.
Takahide Sakurai, chairman of Dai-ichi Mutual Life Insurance Co., said providing funds is a straightforward way for businesses to demonstrate to politicians how they see their activities.
“We expect political parties to be responsible for how they spend the donations,” he said.
Nippon Keidanren will not ask member companies to donate money to political parties. However, the new mechanism would increase expected political donations among the members, according to Hiroyuki Yoshino, a board director and adviser of Honda Motor Co.
“Nippon Keidanren clarifies how each political party handles certain issues and to what extent by evaluating their activities, which would motivate member companies to donate more funds,” he said.
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