National / Politics

Japanese industry donations to Liberal Democratic Party in 2018 hit ¥2.46 billion, up for seventh straight year

Kyodo

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s Liberal Democratic Party raised ¥2.46 billion last year from industry groups and large companies, government data showed Friday, the seventh straight year the figure has increased.

Industry bodies’ contributions in 2018 to the funding body of the ruling party rose 2.7 percent from the previous year, highlighting the close ties between big business and Abe, who became Japan’s longest-serving prime minister last week.

The data came from an annual report on political funds released by the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications.

The Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association was the top donor with contributions of ¥80.4 million, followed by the Japan Iron and Steel Federation with ¥80 million and the Japan Electrical Manufacturers’ Association with ¥77 million.

The nation’s largest automaker, Toyota Motor Corp., was the fourth-biggest contributor with ¥64.4 million. Toyota President Akio Toyoda currently serves as head of the top-donating auto manufacturers association.

A total of 23 major industry groups and large companies each contributed more than ¥20 million to the LDP in 2018, according to the report.

The LDP’s total revenue at its headquarters in 2018 was up 1.7 percent from the previous year to ¥26.29 billion, the highest among political parties.

Of that figure, ¥17.49 billion, or 66.5 percent, came from state subsidies, which are distributed to political parties in proportion to the number of Diet seats they hold. The subsidies are funded by taxpayers.

The opposition Japanese Communist Party ranked second in total revenue at ¥20.3 billion, followed by the LDP’s junior coalition partner, Komeito, at ¥14.91 billion.

The Democratic Party for the People posted ¥6.57 billion in revenue, while the main opposition Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan reported ¥3.65 billion, the report showed.

The total outlay by all political groups in 2018 declined 12.8 percent from the previous year to ¥94.73 billion, due in large part to the fact there were no nationwide elections held in the period. As a result, expenses related to elections plunged 91.5 percent.