Japanese lower house OKs bill to revise political funds control law despite criticism

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Japan’s House of Representatives on Thursday passed a bill to reform its political funds control law in the wake of the slush fund scandal, despite criticism from the opposition bloc that it will not be effective for the long run.

The bill, which requires that lawmakers create a document to confirm the contents of their political funds reports, was approved by a majority vote at a plenary session of the lower chamber of the Diet, the country’s parliament.

However, many criticized that the bill, after weeks of interparty negotiations, does not reflect requests such as the introduction of guilt by association, which could punish lawmakers if their staff members are convicted.

According to the amended bill, the minimum threshold for disclosing the names of those who purchase fundraiser tickets will be lowered to 50,000 yen (about 320 U.S. dollars) from the current minimum of 200,000 yen (about 1,280 U.S. dollars).

Opposition lawmakers, however, have lambasted the bill for leaving many loopholes and have cast doubt on whether it will strengthen transparency in the use of money by politicians, reported national news agency Kyodo.

Citing Kenta Izumi, leader of the left-leaning main opposition Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan, who described the bill proposed by the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) as a “failure,” Kyodo added that the LDP’s sincerity in addressing the rules on political funds has been met with widespread skepticism.

The law, sent to the upper house where deliberations are due to start on Friday for final approval, is expected to be enacted during the ongoing parliamentary session through June 23.

Source: Xinhua

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