The ruling Liberal Democratic Party logged the highest revenue among Japan’s political parties for the third year running in 2015, government figures showed Friday, aided by donations from the business sector.
According to an annual report on political funds released Friday by the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications, the LDP’s revenue jumped 9.9 percent from the year prior to 25.75 billion yen ($227 million).
Corporate and group contributions to the party’s funding body called the People’s Political Association rose 3.7 percent from the year prior to 2.29 billion yen.
Japan’s three largest banking groups were among 2015’s LDP donors, making their first contributions of political funds in 18 years.
Mizuho Financial Group Inc., Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group Inc. and Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group Inc. each donated 20 million yen.
Banks were a major source of political funding until public funds began bailing out the financial sector in the late 1990s. They have since repaid the public funds and resumed paying corporate tax.
The Japan Business Federation, a lobby group representing the country’s largest companies, had called on about 1,300 members to donate to the party. The lobby, also known as Keidanren, praised new aspects of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s economic policies called “Abenomics.”
Among major companies, Toyota Motor Corp. and Canon Inc. donated 64 million yen and 40 million yen respectively. Some 230 companies made donations of 1 million yen or more to the funding body.
The LDP’s outstanding debts declined by 2.5 billion yen in 2015 to stand at just over half of the 9.9 billion yen logged in 2012, when the party returned to power.
The LDP carried over 11.28 billion yen to its 2016 funds reporting period, up 5.92 billion yen from the previous year. The partly likely planned for an upper house election in 2016. There were no national elections in 2015.
The LDP was followed in the revenue rankings by the Japanese Communist Party at 23.82 billion yen and the LDP’s junior coalition partner Komeito at 13.57 billion yen.
The main opposition Democratic Party of Japan, now the Democratic Party following its merger in March this year with a smaller party, secured 9.42 billion yen, followed by the Social Democratic Party at 1.01 billion yen and the Party for Japanese Kokoro at 960 million yen.
The total revenue of Japanese political parties and organizations in 2015 rose 2.8 percent to 110.24 billion yen, reflecting increased amounts from fundraising parties and the repayment of deposits involved with 2014’s lower house election.
Party subsidies made up 29.0 percent of the total revenue at 32.01 billion yen. Total debts fell to 290 million yen, the lowest level since the current disclosure system was established in 1976.