JCP submits bill to abolish state subsidy for political parties
January 27, 2015
The Japanese Communist Party on January 26 submitted to the House of Representatives a bill to abolish the system of state subsidies to political parties.
This is the JCP’s first bill submission in the Diet after the party regained the right to submit bills as a result of its major advance in the general election in December last year.
Under the subsidy system, political parties applying for the financial support annually receive a total of around 32 billion yen which is equivalent to 250 yen per capita.
After the submission, JCP Chair Shii Kazuo held a press conference at the Diet building. Shii pointed out that the public funding system is unconstitutional as it distributes taxpayers’ money to political parties regardless of their private political beliefs in breach of the freedom of thought and creed. The JCP has refused to accept the subsidy since the system started 20 years ago.
Shii noted that when the system was introduced in 1995, then Prime Minister Hosokawa Morihiro and then Liberal Democratic Party President Kono Yohei agreed that the subsidy should account to no more than 40% of each party’s total revenue. He stressed that despite this agreement, the LDP, the Democratic Party of Japan and other political parties now heavily depend on government funding for their income.
The JCP chair criticized politicians for changing alliances only to meet the requirements to receive the government funding support. He said that the subsidy system has caused a degeneration of political parties.
Shii argued that although the political party subsidy system was introduced under the guise of eliminating corporate and special interest political donations, the root cause of corrupt relations between political parties and business circles, the elimination of such donations has yet to be achieved. Under this circumstance, it is unjust as well as unreasonable for political parties to accept both state subsidies and corporate donations, he pointed out. Shii added that to continue the political party subsidy system even if corporate donations are banned would also be unacceptable.
The JCP bill states that a political party’s finance should mainly be supported by contributions from the general public through its grass-roots activities, and demands that the system of state subsidies to political parties be terminated on January 1, 2016.