Comments on Nippon Keidanren’s Resumption of Political Donations

13 May 2003

Japanese Trade Union Confederation (RENGO)
Tadayoshi KUSANO

General Secretary

  1. On May 12, Nippon Keidanren (Japan Business Federation) announced its policy to resume political donations by member companies and organizations—a practice that had been halted a decade ago. According to the announcement, the new system will: 1) decide which priority measures will be requested of political parties each year 2) assess ruling and opposition parties based on measure achievement levels 3) make target amounts based on each party’s assessments and 4) set goals for each member company’s donation.

  2. RENGO’s stance is that political donations by companies and organizations should be abolished. Financial support of political parties and politicians should be a personal decision by individuals. With this view, further preferential tax incentives are essential to heighten people’s political awareness and pave the way for private individuals to make political donations.

  3. The current Japanese economic situation is extremely severe and employment problems are going from bad to worse. Now is the time for businesses to find solutions to employment problems by concentrating on management and doing everything possible for economic recovery. Furthermore, businesses must never be allowed to let their managers unilaterally decide to use money—the fruit of the workers’ efforts—for political donations.
    However, Nippon Keidanren’s resuming political donations to enhance their influence in the policymaking process cannot hope to gain the public’s understanding amidst a never-ending succession of scandals involving business, politics and money.
    Nippon Keidanren should now use good judgement and halt resumption of the political donation system that they are considering.