Opposition lawmakers charged Monday that a fund management body of the Liberal Democratic Party issued fake receipts for political donations from the Japan Dental Association in 1999 and 2001, even though the money had been delivered to individual LDP lawmakers.

The association delivered the donations to six favored Diet members of the LDP, Yoshito Sengoku, policy chief of the opposition Democratic Party of Japan, told a session of the House of Representatives Budget Committee.

The DPJ and some media reports say the LDP’s fund management body has often been used to launder donations to individual politicians.

Yoshio Hachiro, the DPJ’s Diet affairs chief, told a news conference in the morning that the six LDP lawmakers include former Prime Minister Ryutaro Hashimoto, former LDP policy chief Shizuka Kamei and former Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori, each of whom received 10 million yen in 1999.

Citing the result of the party’s investigation, Hachiro also named Taku Yamasaki, now special adviser to Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi, who reportedly received 30 million yen in 2001.

“If (lawmakers) with administrative authority received donations tied (to certain policy-related pleas), the act would constitute bribery and they would be arrested,” DPJ lawmaker Kazuhiro Haraguchi told the Budget Committee.

“It would be outrageous if (the LDP’s fund management body) was used to cover up” the donations to the six lawmakers, Haraguchi said.

Sengoku said the DPJ learned that the dental association kept records of donations to lawmakers by using numbered codes. Corporate donations to individual lawmakers have been banned by the revised Political Funds Control Law, which took effect in 2000. But there are no restrictions on donations by registered political groups, including political associations formed by corporations or individuals.

“Diverted donations (to individual politicians) are unacceptable, and the party has reported to me that there have been no such donations,” Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi, also the president of the LDP, said during the Budget Committee session.

Sengoku proposed that the funds control law be revised so that political donations must in principle be handled through bank accounts, not cash. He said all data of official political fund reports should be disclosed on the Internet and that a ceiling be placed on the amount of donations that a registered political group can make in a year.

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