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HOME  > Past issues  > 2007 February 14 - 20  > End government subsidy to political parties
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2007 February 14 - 20 [POLITICS]

End government subsidy to political parties

February 11, 2007
Akahata editorial (excerpts)

One of the major points at issue in the current Diet session is the relationship between politics and money.

The cause of political corruption lies not only in corporate donations, which are increasing in an uncontrolled manner, but also in the system of government subsidy to political parties in which the Liberal Democratic, Komei, Democratic, Social Democratic, and other parties, except the Japanese Communist Party, grab a total of 31.9 billion yen a year.

Under this subsidy system established 12 years ago, the government distributes the amount of multiplying 250 yen (per capita) by the total population to each political party in accordance with the percentage of its votes in national elections and the percentage of its seats in the Diet.

The LDP, for example, last year received a subsidy of 17.1 billion yen, the amount equivalent to the population of 68.4 million. Given the fact that the LDP received only 26 million votes in the most recent general election, a large part of the subsidy the LDP received was from those who did not support the party.

Subsidies are granted to political parties in violation of Article 19 of the Constitution stipulating “freedom of thought and conscience.” For a political party that should be independent from the state, receiving the subsidy amounts to committing suicide. That is why the JCP has consistently been refusing to receive the subsidy and calling for the system to be abolished.

Since the creation of the system ensuring the inflow of a vast amount of easy money, political parties receiving it have lost their function to reflect public demands in their policies.

Of the political party’s total revenue, the government subsidies account for 60 percent in the case of the LDP, 84 percent for the DPJ, and 50 percent for the SDP. Personal donations, in contrast, account for only 1 percent for the LDP, and 0 percent for the DPJ.

Easy money leads to corruption. It was exposed in 1998 that an LDP lawmaker used the subsidy to buy votes as well as for his housing expenses, and in 2003 that another LDP lawmaker used the subsidy to buy votes.

The creation of the government subsidy system was intended to give money to political parties in exchange for the abolition of corporate contributions. But this promise has never been honored. Easy money not only from corporate donations but also from tax money has further aggravated political corruption.

Japanese Communist Party Chair Shii Kazuo at the House of Representative plenary session demanded that the government subsidies to political parties be abolished.

Let us increase efforts to eliminate political corruption and to call for clean and honest politics.
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