• Kyodo


Political parties and their fund management bodies raised 43.4 percent more in donations from companies, labor unions and industry groups in 2013 than the year before, a government report said Friday.

The total came to ¥2.48 billion.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s Liberal Democratic Party, which returned to power in December 2012, saw donations climb sharply, boosting its overall revenue to ¥23.3 billion and allowing it to top the revenue rankings for the first time since 2008, according to the annual report released by the Internal Affairs and Communications Ministry.

The combined revenue of parties, their fund management organizations and other political groups rose 0.3 percent to ¥113.37 billion, while spending grew 4.6 percent to ¥115.85 billion.

A breakdown of the combined revenue shows that state subsidies for the parties accounted for 28.1 percent of their revenue at ¥31.87 billion. Income from fundraising events totaled ¥7.28 billion, up 3.2 percent.

Spending for publicity activities saw a 4.6-fold increase to ¥12.38 billion, apparently because of payments related to the House of Representatives election in December 2012 and the House of Councilors election in July 2013.

In Japan, politicians have been banned from receiving donations from companies, industry groups and labor unions to prevent corruption since 2000, but contributions can be made to their parties, branches and fund management groups.

The LDP’s fund management body, the People’s Political Association, was the top earner with donations surging 42.5 percent to ¥1.95 billion in 2013. Its branch offices pulled in ¥260 million, up 89.7 percent, while its headquarters did not accept donations.

The association received far less in donations from executives of the nation’s 10 major utilities at ¥124,000 compared with ¥1.9 million in 2012, following public criticism of the electricity industry’s cozy ties with the long-ruling party at a time when they are seeking to restart nuclear reactors in the wake of the triple core meltdown in Fukushima Prefecture in March 2011.

As for party headquarters, the Japanese Communist Party ranked second behind the LDP by pulling in ¥22.54 billion in revenue. Komeito, the LDP’s junior coalition partner, followed with ¥14.27 billion and the opposition-leading Democratic Party of Japan with ¥9.43 billion.

Among party leaders, veteran politician Ichiro Ozawa of People’s Life Party was the top fundraiser with ¥205.61 million, and Abe was second with ¥176.04 million.

The funds do not include income reported to local authorities by political organizations operating in a single prefecture, whose data are released separately.

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