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2024 February 14 - 20 TOP3 [POLITICS]

Majority of major countries put ban or restrictions on political donations from businesses and interest groups

February 19, 2024

Amid the ongoing off-the-book funds scandal involving the Liberal Democratic Party, Prime Minister Kishida Fumio justifies political donations from business entities and other interest groups as the “cost of democracy.” However, looking around the world, many countries prohibit corporate donations to political parties.

According to materials submitted by the National Diet Library to Japanese Communist Party member of the House of Representatives Miyamoto Toru, among the G7 countries, the United States, Canada, and France impose a ban on corporate donations to political parties.

France, for example, began prohibiting corporate donations by amending its law on political funds in 1995 following a spate of revelations of money scandals since 1980.

Even countries in which corporate donations to political parties are allowed set various restrictions.

In the U.K., if a company makes political donations exceeding a certain amount, it needs to obtain prior approval at its shareholders’ meeting. If a labor union makes political donations, it is required to set up a fund separate from the union after receiving approval by union members through secret balloting.

Spain, Portugal, Mexico, Chile, and South Korea of the 38 OECD member countries and about half of EU countries also prohibit corporate donations to political parties, according to the Sweden-based International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance.
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