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POLITICS

Five million yen donated by corporation to political groups related to Olympics Minister Endo

(Sankei: July 8, 2015 – Top play)

 

 The Sankei Shimbun learned on July 7 from political funds reports that three political organizations related to Toshiaki Endo, 65, minister in charge of preparations for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics, received a total of 5 million yen in donations from four executives of “Hirata Bokujo,” a processed food company, in Sakata City, Yamagata Prefecture, on the same day in 2013. The Political Funds Control Law bans corporate donations to political organizations except political parties. An observer well versed in the law said, “The five million yen may be tantamount to a corporate donation.”

 

 In order to prevent collusive ties between politicians and corporations, the Political Funds Control Law prohibits donations by corporations to political organizations other than political parties.

 

 Hirata Bokujo produces the famous brand of hog known as “Hiraboku-sangen,” which is raised on feed rice. Backed by a law adopted in 2009 at the House of Representatives committee on agriculture, forestry and fisheries, chaired by Endo, state subsidies for feed rice-producers were increased. It is believed that the company’s expenditure for feed rice dropped with the increase in the state subsidy.

 

 According to the political funds reports, the funds management organization “Shinpu-Kai,” headed by Endo, received 1.5 million yen each from the company’s chairman and president, for a total of 3 million yen, on June 8, 2013. 1.5 million yen is the maximum allowable donation from a single person to a political organization. On the same day, the Yamagata No. 1 electoral district branch of the Liberal Democratic Party, headed by Endo, received 500,000 yen from the wife of the company’s president and the Endo support group received 1.5 million yen from the wife of the company’s chairman.

 

 In response to a query from Sankei, the chairman said: “I decided to make a donation to Mr. Endo. We are a family business, and my family members made donations. We donated the funds out of pocket.”

 

 Endo’s office told Sankei that “the political funds were properly reported in accordance with the law.” (Slightly abridged)

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