National / Politics

Industry donations to ruling LDP rose for 5th straight year in 2016, to ¥2.3 billion: ministry

Kyodo

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s Liberal Democratic Party raised ¥2.32 billion last year from industry groups and large companies, with the figure up for the fifth consecutive year, government data showed Thursday.

Contributions to the People’s Political Association, the ruling party’s funding body, rose 1.3 percent from 2015, according to an annual report on political funds released by the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications.

Donations from business circles to the LDP have been on the rise since 2012, when the LDP returned to power and Abe’s second stint as prime minister began.

Major industry groups became the largest donors to the LDP’s political fundraising body, reflecting their support for Abe’s economic policies such as progress toward the Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade pact and the resumption of idled nuclear power plants.

The Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association became the top donor with contributions of ¥80.4 million, followed by the Japan Iron and Steel Federation with ¥80 million, the Japan Electrical Manufacturers’ Association with ¥77 million and leading automaker Toyota Motor Corp. with ¥64.4 million.

The LDP’s total revenue at its headquarters in 2016 was ¥24.1 billion, the largest among political parties for the fourth year in a row.

Of that figure, ¥17.4 billion, or 72.3 percent, came from state subsidies to political parties, which is distributed in accordance with the number of seats in the Diet.

The Japanese Communist Party ranked second in total revenue at ¥21.6 billion, followed by the LDP’s junior coalition partner, Komeito, at ¥13.8 billion.

Of the JCP’s revenue, that from its businesses — such as sales of the party newspaper — accounted for 85.1 percent. The party does not accept subsidies using public funds.

The total outlay of all political groups in 2016 increased 6.9 percent from the previous year to ¥107.4 billion, due mainly to costs for the House of Councilors’ election in July in the reporting year.