When the Liberal Democratic Party was in power, officials of business and other organizations, including local governments, often sought contacts with LDP lawmakers to petition for particular policy measures. As an inherent part of the political process, the system spawned so-called “tribal” lawmakers, who conveyed the petitions to bureaucrats and influenced the latter’s decisions. In return, the lawmakers could expect votes from people linked to interest groups.

Democratic Party of Japan Secretary General Ichiro Ozawa has set up a new system to handle petitions. The DPJ’s prefectural chapters will compile all petitions from local governments and local-level organizations, and the DPJ party committees will do the same with petitions from national-level organizations.

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