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2014 February 26 - March 4 [POLITICS]

JCP Sasaki criticizes gov’t for subsidizing political parties while planning to impose higher sales tax on people

March 1, 2014
Japanese Communist Party Lower House member Sasaki Kensho on February 28 criticized the government for using tax payer money for party subsidies while imposing heavier tax burdens on the general public, and demanded the abolition of the subsidy system.

An annual total of 32 billion yen in government subsidies is granted to political parties with the exception of the JCP which refuses the subsidy on principle. Since 1995, government spending on subsidies for political parties amounted to 599.6 billion yen in 2013.

In a final discussion on the FY 2014 draft budget at a House Budget Committee meeting, Sasaki pointed to the fact that the ruling Liberal Democratic Party received 271.6 billion yen in state subsidies in total for the past 19 years and relies on public funds for 64% of its revenue.

He argued that a political party should cover its budget with donations from individuals who support party’s policies. He demanded that the government should stop allowing political parties to depend on the subsidy system when forcing the general public to shoulder the ever higher consumption tax rate.

Prime Minister Abe Shinzo showed his stance justifying the state subsidy system by saying, “It is necessary for the public to share in the cost for democracy.”

The JCP representative also cited the fact that the LDP received 7.7 billion yen in political donations from corporations and organizations in 2012 although the subsidy system was introduced in 1995 in the guise of banning corporate and organizational donations to political parties.

The prime minister in his reply took a so-what attitude saying he sees nothing wrong with accepting corporate donations.
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