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Bill to lift ban on political donations from foreign capital passes Lower House committee after only 2-hour discussion

The Liberal Democratic, Komei, and Democratic parties on December 1 used their majority to pass a bill to revise the Political Funds Control Law lifting the ban on political donations from foreign capital after just two hours of discussion in the House of Representatives Committee on Political Ethics.

Japanese Communist Party representative Sasaki Kensho expressed opposition to the bill by stating, "This bill will make a complete about-turn on the principle regarding national sovereignty. The true need now is to ban political donations from any corporations and organizations."

Citing that Canon Chair Mitarai Fujio (more than 50 percent of Canon Inc. shares are held by foreign capital) has become the Japan Business Federation (Nippon Keidanren) chair, Sasaki said, "Keidanren wants to influence politics with money and has a common interest with the LDP and the DPJ that are in trouble because of a decrease in contributions. I strongly protest this vote on such an important bill with only two hours of discussion."

In order to avoid foreign influence on the nation's politics and elections, the current Political Funds Control Law prohibits organizations whose principal members are foreign individuals or corporations from making political contributions.

The Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications defines foreign corporations subject to this restriction as corporations with more than 50 percent of its shares owned by foreigners.

Canon and Nippon Keidanren Chair Mitarai has been complaining, "Under the current law, Canon cannot give political donations."

The bill is to exclude "publicly-traded Japanese companies" from the foreign-owned corporations that are prevented from making political donations based on the principle of excluding foreign influences.

Sasaki criticized the bill submitters for their irresponsible position to ask for donations even from foreign capital.
- Akahata, December 2, 2006

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