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Friday, Dec. 21, 2007
Financial disclosure bill passed by Lower House
By MASAMI ITO
Spurred to action by a series of money scandals, the Lower House approved a bill Thursday requiring political organizations to fully disclose all expenses other than salaries.
The bill to revise the Political Funds Control Law was approved by every party but the Japanese Communist Party and was immediately handed to the Upper House in the afternoon, where it also got the nod from a special panel.
The revision is expected to clear the Diet on Friday and be enacted Jan. 1.
During the plenary session of the House of Representatives, Yasufumi Tanahashi, a member of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party and chairman of the special committee on political ethics and the election law, urged lawmakers to pass the bill quickly.
"This bill is to ensure (the submission of) accurate political funds reports . . . and to increase transparency" in the use of political funds, Tanahashi said.
The revision, which targets all political organizations related to Diet members, requires the submission of receipts for expenditures greater than ¥10,000 along with a political funds report to the Internal Affairs and Communications Ministry and prefectural election commissions.
The documents, which will be made available to the public, can be copied or printed out over the Internet — something not allowed under current law.
Political groups will be obliged to keep the receipts for expenditures of ¥10,000 or less and, in principle, furnish them upon request.