Japan's Lower House passes bill to revise political funds control law

The Lower House of Japan's Diet on Thursday passed a bill to revise the political funds control law.

The bill submitted by the main ruling Liberal Democratic Party was approved with a majority vote, with support from its junior coalition partner Komeito, the opposition Japan Innovation Party and others.

The LDP had amended its original bill to incorporate demands from Komeito and the Japan Innovation Party.

The bill mandates that lawmakers create a document to confirm the contents of their political funds reports. This is to introduce a system of "guilt by association."

The minimum threshold for disclosing the names of those who purchase fundraiser tickets will be lowered to 50,000 yen, or about 320 dollars. The current minimum is 200,000 yen, or about 1,280 dollars.

Lawmakers will be asked to publicize in detail how and when the policy activity fees provided by their party were used. They will be required to disclose the receipts and other relevant documents 10 years later.

Ahead of the vote, former justice minister Yamashita Takashi of the LDP said the bill genuinely responded to the proposals from other parties and is aimed at preventing a recurrence of the funds scandal. He said it ensures both the freedom of political activities and transparency of political funds.

Nishimura Chinami, Executive Deputy President of the largest opposition Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan, said the LDP's bill is full of loopholes.

She said it will not in any way lead to the eradication of the practice of creating slush funds.

The bill was later sent to the Upper House, where deliberations are due to start on Friday for final approval. It is likely to become law during the current Diet session that ends later this month.