National / Politics

Revenue for Abe’s LDP overwhelms other political parties in Japan

Kyodo

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s Liberal Democratic Party booked ¥25.86 billion ($228 million) in revenue for 2017, by far the largest among Japanese political parties, government data showed Friday.

The main opposition Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan, set up in October last year, reported ¥1.25 billion, according to an annual report on political funds released by the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communication, covering nearly 3,000 groups.

The LDP marked a 7.2 percent increase in revenue at its headquarters from the previous year, remaining at the top of the list for the fifth straight year.

Donations to the LDP’s funding body from companies and organizations also rose 2.9 percent to ¥2.39 billion, growing for the sixth consecutive year since Abe returned to power in 2012, highlighting his close ties with the business community and prompting critics to urge continued efforts to ensure the transparency of political activities.

Japan has a record of political fund scandals involving high-profile lawmakers with Cabinet posts. Most recently, Satsuki Katayama, Abe’s pick as regional revitalization minister, has been under scrutiny over repeated corrections in reports submitted by a political group.

The largest portion of the LDP’s revenue came in the form of state subsidies at ¥17.6 billion, accounting for 68.1 percent of the total. The subsidies to political parties are funded with taxpayers’ money.

Donations to its funding body — the People’s Political Association — included ¥80.4 million from the Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association, which topped the list.

The Japan Iron and Steel Federation came second with ¥80.0 million, followed by ¥77.0 million from the Japan Electrical Manufacturers’ Association and ¥64.4 million from Toyota Motor Corp.

The Japanese Communist Party ranked second in total revenue at ¥21.27 billion, down 1.9 percent, followed by the LDP’s junior coalition partner Komeito at ¥12.05 billion, down 12.9 percent.

The total outlay for all political groups in 2017 climbed 1.1 percent to ¥108.59 billion, affected by ¥10.98 billion in expenses related to last fall’s general election.