The Keidanren, the Japan Business Federation, made a decision in a meeting of Chairman and Vice-Chairmen on September 8 to resume payment after five years of restraint of political donations. It will ‘call’ member employers and organizations ‘for’ contributions pursuant to the federation’s appraisal of politics. That means the business purchases politics. Such a practice cannot be accepted. The Keidanren must immediately revoke the decision.
POLITICAL DONATION MUST NOT BE RESUMED
According to media reports, Secretary General of the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) Tanigaki Sadakazu held a press conference on September 9 after he had met Chairman of the Keidanren Sakakibara Sadayuki. The party leader told, referring to resumption of political donation made by business leaders that: ‘I understand that employers will take their right responsibility for sound development of parliamentary democracy by paying necessary costs. I really appreciate such a voluntary call for donation’.
The Keidanren covers 1300 big corporations across the country as members, the strongest organization of employers. Its mobilizing capacity to collect money is the biggest. Member companies will contribute in accordance with the federation’s assessment on the policies of political parties. That means buying politics with money.
Political Section of Business Group
Corporations do not have the voting right, but they try to involve in politics, national policies and elections, using their extraordinary power. How is possible that business could lead sound development of parliamentary democracy? The Keidanren’s position is that the business organization estimates policies of political parties to classify and rank them and then urge members to make donation. That does not mean a practice of a democratic state but of an employer-led state. For this reason many democratic countries in the world prohibit as a rule political contributions.
The Keidanren refrained from making policy assessment during the era of the governments led by the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ), but it announced in October last year its political judgment after four years of absence. It coordinated with the second round of Abe administration inaugurated in the end of 2012.
The Keidanren highly appreciates the so-called Abenomics and appraises Japan’s participation in the TPP negotiation. Among others, in particular, the business federation firmly advocates the government’s aspiration to restart nuclear power plants. In short, the business circle entirely supports the policies of the Abe government. In addition, it wants the government to keep a policy to surge the consumption tax rate to 10% and reduce corporation tax rate practically around 25%.
Thus, policies of the Abe government coincide closely with the demands of Keidanren. You can see here a very clear reason why the LDP and the LDP government are defined as ‘a political section of the business group’.
A practice of political donation by the Keidanren began in 1955 as a contribution imposed on member companies to pay some amount of money. It had been practiced for 38 years until 1993, but it was suspended when the Hosokawa government was set up and the LDP retreated as an opposition due to disclosure of its ugly commitments in politics with money. Instead, a system to use tax money was introduced, called the Grants for Political Parties. But the donation practice returned in 2004 under the Koizumi government as ‘a method of policy assessment’.
Political contributions discontinued in 2010 after the DPJ became a government in 2009. Now they will be practiced again.
Chairman Sakakibara of the Keidanren repeats a phrase of ‘cooperation of business with politics’. Indeed political donation is made by the Keidanren when the LDP is a government, while it is suspended when the party withdraws an opposition. When the LDP returns to be a government, the practice begins. The LDP and the Keidanren keep working together at any time.
September 23, 2014