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What will happen to the Democratic Party’s 14 billion yen in political funds?

In connection with the exodus of Democratic Party members to join the Party of Hope led by Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike, speculation is growing that the DP’s reported 14 billion yen in funding will be diverted to Koike’s new party because her party’s funds are insufficient. DP Deputy President Yukio Edano, who announced the establishment of a new party called the Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan (CDPJ) on Oct. 2, said, “I expect the DP will provide us with financial support to some extent.” In this way, Edano expressed hope that the DP will provide the CDPJ with some funds for its election campaign. However, whether DP President Seiji Maehara will provide such financial assistance to Edano’s party remains to be seen.

 

On Oct. 1, the Party of Hope held a meeting with candidates to be fielded on the party ticket. Koike instructed them to pay a total of 4 million yen each, 3 million yen as a deposit for being listed on the party’s proportional representation and 1 million yen for election advertising. In addition, the candidates were reportedly required to pay 30,000 yen to take photographs with Koike to be used in their election campaigns. Given the fact that the Liberal Democratic Party and the DP pay the deposits for their candidates, some Party of Hope candidates said that the party seems to be “significantly short of funds.”

 

On Oct. 2, the DP Headquarters paid 15 million yen to each of its former Lower House members who have requested to be fielded on the ticket of Party of Hope. The amount was 5 million yen more than originally planned. The candidates who received the money believe that the DP probably paid them extra based on the assessment that the Party of Hope will probably require its new members to pay various relevant costs. One of the candidates said, “The new party may later demand that we pay various expenses.”

 

According to the DP’s political funding report, the party had a balance of about 14 billion yen as of the end of 2015. In 2016, the DP received a total of 9.3 billion yen in party subsidies and collected about 200 million yen in membership fees, so the party probably still has about 14 billion yen in funding. Another DP’s former Lower House member who plans to join the Party of Hope said, “Without President Maehara’s approval, it is impossible to split up the DP,” denying the possibility that the DP and the CDPJ will share the DP’s funds.

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