Japan Press Service Co., Ltd. is the only news agency providing information of progressive, democratic movements in Japan

LDP, DPJ, Komei in Tokyo assembly refuse to disclose use of policy research funds

The Liberal Democratic, Democratic, and Komei parties in the Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly are facing public criticism since they rejected on March 30 the Japanese Communist Party's proposal for requiring each party to attach receipts to their reports on the use of policy research funds.

The assembly provides each members' group with the largest amount of policy research funds in Japan, 600,000 yen per member per month, amounting to 900 million yen annually in total or 3.6 billion yen for a four-year term of office.

However, a report on the use of funds currently required for each party to submit is just a piece of paper without receipts, by which the actual use of funds never comes to light. Therefore, the funds are called the "second paycheck." Tokyo is ranked the lowest of the 47 prefectures in terms of transparency in the use of funds.

According to Tokyo Shimbun's opinion poll published in last September, almost 90 percent of respondents expressed a demand to make the fund transparent.

Since the ordinance on the political research funds was enacted in March 2001, the JCP Metropolitan Assembly members group has repeatedly submitted the proposal to require each party to attach receipts with their reports on the political research fund.

The LDP is insisting that the attachment of receipts poses a risk of undermining the autonomy and independence of assembly members' political activities. However, political activities should be conducted using their own funds, and political research funds should not be used for activities that cannot be disclosed.

As the reason to oppose the JCP's proposal, the DPJ last September stated that it was going to have informal consultations on the question with the LDP and Komei Party. However, since then they have never made clear if discussions ever took place.

In order to fulfill their pledge, the JCP Metropolitan Assembly members group on March 30 announced that they will independently publish on their website a report showing every use of the policy research funds, and they will disclose receipts if requested.
- Akahata, April 4, 2006

Copyright (c) Japan Press Service Co., Ltd. All right reserved.