Corporate Donations and Fund-Raising Parties in Japanese Politics

Corporate Donations and Fund-Raising Parties in Japanese Politics

The Asahi Shimbun conducted an online survey involving 7,500 companies to gather insights on their political donation practices and participation in fund-raising parties. Among the companies that donated to branches of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party, the primary reason cited was support for the lawmakers leading those organizations. Currently, the Political Fund Control Law prohibits direct donations to lawmakers' political fund management organizations. However, companies can legally donate to political party branches, which critics argue provides a loophole for indirect donations to lawmakers.

The survey revealed that 165 companies, the highest number, donated to support individual lawmakers. Support for the political party was the next most common reason, with 79 companies providing donations. Interestingly, 77 companies stated that they donated due to requests from the political party or lawmakers. Other reasons included building relationships with lawmakers and conforming to industry or regional customs. Some respondents expressed support for the lawmakers' character and political views, while others acknowledged the need for local representation in their region's development. Additionally, some respondents felt compelled to donate due to personal relationships or fear of negative consequences if they declined a request.

The survey also explored the perceived benefits of donations. The majority of companies (124) stated that there were no particular benefits. However, 104 companies cited support for individual lawmakers' activities, and 52 companies mentioned support for the political party's activities. Companies were permitted to select multiple answers for this question. Notably, 88 companies believed that donations to political party branches should be allowed but with stricter regulations, while 64 companies advocated for an outright ban on corporate donations.