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Japan’s ruling LDP will only introduce a political funds reform bill; Coalition partner Komeito Adamant on lower disclosure threshold


The Yomiuri Shimbun
Working-level members of the Liberal Democratic Party and Komeito are seen at a meeting on Wednesday to discuss the revision of the Political Funds Control Law.

A joint meeting of the Working Group of the Liberal Democratic Party’s Political Reform Headquarters and other committees discussed and broadly approved the LDP’s proposal for the revision of the Political Funds Control Law on Thursday morning. But the gap between the LDP and its ruling coalition partner Komeito remains unbridged when it comes to issues such as the disclosure threshold for ticket buyers for political fundraising parties.

The LDP plans to continue with internal party procedures and submit the bill to the Diet on its own as early as Friday.

Former Vice Foreign Minister Keisuke Suzuki, the chairman of the working group, stressed at the joint meeting the importance of preventing recurrence of law violations, saying: “We will promote political reforms in various ways.”

The LDP and Komeito agreed on tightening penalties for Diet members and requiring external audits. However, the LDP proposal calls for lowering the disclosure threshold for party ticket buyers from the current “more than ¥200,000” to “more than ¥100,000,” while Komeito has not deviated from its position of lowering it to “more than ¥50,000.”

The LDP is leaning towards abandoning the joint submission of the bill with Komeito, given the deliberation schedule in the Diet.

It is extremely unusual for the ruling coalition parties to fail to coordinate their efforts on a bill introduced by Diet members, resulting in the LDP submitting the bill alone.

During the working-level discussions on Wednesday, the LDP presented the draft text to the Komeito side. Regarding the disclosure of the use of funds provided by political parties to their members for expenditure on policy activities, which has been a point of contention between the two parties, the LDP proposal calls on parties to make disclosures based on reports received of members for expenditure in each of five to ten categories, such as expenditure on organizational activities, election-related expenditure and research expenditure. The aim is to increase transparency in the use of expenditure for policy activities, which have been criticized as opaque.

The LDP’s proposal also included points agreed upon by the LDP and Komeito, such as strengthening penalties for the members themselves. However, Komeito’s side views the proposal as an LDP proposal and not a ruling coalition proposal because it contains points on which the two parties disagreed. Komeito’s side has no plans to submit its own proposal to the Reichstag.

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