Japan Press Weekly
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gThey are the very cause of political corruption,h said Your Partyfs President Watanabe Yoshimi calling for a ban on political donations from corporations and organizations. However, he has received more than 500 million yen from sales of fundraiser tickets and in donations from corporations and organizations, including those who won government contracts.
According to his six political organizationsf funds reports, he has received approximately 546 million yen in political donations during the six years since 2003.
Of the companies that made political donations to him, at least 70 were found out to be awarded public works contracts by the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism as well as by the government of Tochigi Prefecture where his constituency is located. In short, these business entities gave him money from profits they made from the publicly-funded projects.
Furthermore, he has received donations from construction-related firms to which the Fair Trade Commission issued cautions against their bid-rigging deals for the construction of a state-funded bridge. Under such collusive biddings, contracts are accepted at a higher price than under appropriate competitive biddings, which is nothing but the wasteful use of tax money as he criticizes.
Some were even companies that the Tokyo High Public Prosecutorsf Office charged with manipulated bidding at the initiative of government officials. This was the case that he himself criticized as gAmakudarih practice. The biggest selling point of the Your Party and Watanabe is its call for a total ban on gAmakudarih, retired bureaucrats obtaining executive corporate positions to exercise influence in ministries they represented. However, at least 13 companies that made political donations to Watanabe have given former government officials executive posts.
What is more, Watanabe has received 99 million yen in government subsidies for six years. In the first place, the government subsidy system was introduced with a view to abolish political donations from corporations and organizations. He himself admits in his book published in 2009 that the purpose of this system was gto eliminate cozy ties between politicians and special-interest lobby groups.h
Seeking to win government contracts, these corporations provide key posts to retired government officials who were in charge of public orders and make political donations to Watanabe. He continues to receive both the government subsidies and political donations from those companies. Who can deny that this is a blatant example of collusion among politicians, bureaucrats, and business?
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