Political Fund Control Law Revisions Face Hurdles in Japan's Diet

Political Fund Control Law Revisions Face Hurdles in Japan's Diet

Political Fund Control Law Revisions Face Hurdles in Japan's Diet

Following a major scandal involving the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), Japan's Lower House began deliberations on May 22nd on five bills aimed at revising the Political Fund Control Law. However, the LDP's proposed bill lacks the support of its junior coalition partner, Komeito, making Diet approval in the current session unlikely despite Prime Minister Fumio Kishida's pledge.

Kishida has vowed to have the revisions approved before the ongoing ordinary session closes on June 23rd. "The primary focus of the current Diet session is to revise the Political Fund Control Law to prevent a recurrence (of the scandal)," Kishida stated at an Upper House Budget Committee session. "It will be accomplished by the end of the session."

Lawmakers from the LDP and opposition parties outlined their respective bills at a meeting of the Lower House special committee on political reform. The LDP's bill emphasizes transparency of political funds, with Lower House member Keisuke Suzuki stating, "While seeking to realize politics that costs less money, necessary provisions should be made by law to ensure transparency of necessary political funds on condition that politicians make a point of shaping up."

The LDP initially aimed to submit a joint bill with Komeito, but the latter's demand for stricter regulations forced the LDP to go it alone. Komeito did not submit its own bill. The LDP needs support from other parties to revise the law due to its lack of a majority in the Upper House.

The main opposition Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan and the Democratic Party for the People submitted a joint bill with a parliamentary group of independent lawmakers. While the LDP focuses on strengthening penalties, other parties prioritize enhancing transparency.

The LDP and other parties, including Komeito, remain at odds over disclosure rules for fund-raising parties and reviews of policy activity expenses. The LDP hopes to have its bill clear the Lower House by the end of May, but negotiations with other parties are expected to be challenging.