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Political parties and groups raised ¥253.7 billion in 2008, down 11 percent from the previous year and 30 percent below the peak in 1998, reflecting the economic downturn and lack of a national election that triggers massive fundraising, government reports showed Monday.

The parties spent 23 percent less at ¥237.2 billion, equivalent to two-thirds of the peak in 1991, according to reports on political funds submitted to the central and local governments.

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