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HOME  > Past issues  > 2011 September 28 - October 4  > Utilities’ political donations continue in different forms
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2011 September 28 - October 4 [NUCLEAR CRISIS]

Utilities’ political donations continue in different forms

September 15, 2011
Structure of reliance on NPP money (Part 8)

From 1966 to 1974, the Liberal Democratic Party’s fund managing body “People’s Political Association” received 1.63 billion yen from the steel industry, 2.57 billion yen from the financial industry, and 1.14 billion yen from the electricity industry. These three groups were often dubbed the “big three” in political donations.

Hanamura Nihachiro, former executive secretary of the Japan Federation of Economic Organizations (Keidanren, present Japan Business Federation) used to decide how much the business world as a whole should donate to the LDP and how much every industrial category should share in the burden. Based on the designated amount, each industry calculated how much its member corporations should pay, taking into account their share in total sales turnover and production. In the electricity industry, the share of Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) was said to be around 30%.

The political world responded to donations with policies in their favor. This period was when locating and constructing nuclear power plants made rapid progress. Utilities’ applications for permission to raise electricity charges were almost always approved. In June 1974, a simultaneous raise in electricity charges by an average of 56.8% by 9 electric power companies was accepted without question.

Power companies’ political donations are in large part funded by electricity charges paid by the general public. Amid mounting public criticisms over extraordinarily money-tainted elections and donations to a specific political party made by public utilities, they decided to suspend their corporate donations.

However, donations from the power companies still continue. Since 1975, their donations have taken the form of individual executives making donations with different amounts according to their rank.

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