• Kyodo

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Political donations to the biggest ruling party by companies and industry groups fell last year on a year-on-year basis for the first time since its return to power in 2012, government data showed Friday.

But the data released by the internal affairs ministry showed that the Liberal Democratic Party received the largest amount of donations among other political parties for the seventh straight year, raising ¥2.42 billion ($23.3 million) in 2019, down 1.6% from the previous year.

Meanwhile, last year’s total outlay by all political parties jumped 22.2% to ¥115.8 billion as 2019 saw a once-in-12-years overlap of nationwide local elections in the spring and the House of Councilors election in the summer.

The LDP’s total revenue at its headquarters in 2019 was ¥24.49 billion.

Of that figure, 72.1%, or ¥17.65 billion, came from state subsidies, funds distributed to political parties in proportion to the number of parliamentary seats they hold. Taxpayers fund the subsidies.

The ruling party, headed by Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga, allocated ¥1.01 billion to Toshihiro Nikai, secretary general of the LDP, for expenses related to political activities, increasing from ¥830 million the previous year.

Donations from companies and industries to the LDP exceeded ¥2.4 billion for the second consecutive year, with the Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association the biggest contributor at ¥80.40 million.

The Japan Electrical Manufacturers’ Association was the second top donor at ¥77 million, followed by Toyota Motor Corp. at ¥64.40 million.

The Japan Iron and Steel Federation, the second-biggest contributor in 2018 at ¥80 million, reduced its donations to ¥60 million.

Of the total outlay by all political parties, donations from headquarters to their branches and other bodies increased 41.3% from the previous year to ¥38.48 billion, while expenses related to elections surged by 4.5 times to ¥4.19 billion.

Overall donations to all political parties totaled ¥109.80 billion, up 1.3%, while the amount of borrowing rose more than fivefold to ¥3.65 billion due to 2019 being an election year.

The Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan, which was dissolved in September to merge with other opposition parties, borrowed ¥2.5 billion, hiking up its revenue twofold compared to 2018.

The opposition Japanese Communist Party ranked second in total revenue at ¥20.45 billion, followed by the LDP’s junior coalition partner Komeito at ¥12.89 billion.

The CDP, the country’s largest opposition party, reported ¥7.05 billion, while the Democratic Party for the People, which disbanded in September because of the merger, posted ¥5.74 billion.

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

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