Osaka Mayor Toru Hashimoto, leader of the new Nippon Ishin no Kai (Japan Restoration Party), has reversed his previous ban accepting contributions from corporations and organizations. He made the announcement on Tuesday, and while certainly already under pressure from others, he said the decision was based on having consideration for recent members, such as Shintaro Ishihara, who joined forces with Hashimoto last week.
The Osaka mayor explained that when the Japan Restoration Party was originally formed, they decided members shouldn’t accept funds from corporate groups, but after merging with Ishihara’s Taiyo no To (Sunshine Party), the policy has become to difficult. However, Hashimoto adds that this doesn’t mean unlimited contributions will be allowed, and states they will soon set a limit on what is allowed. The party’s original plan was for candidates who wanted to run under the JRP to have to pay for their own campaigns with privately raised money, needing between 2 million and 10 million yen (approx. $24,500 to $122,000) to run in an election.
The lack of time before the December 16th election is the main reason for the change. The party is still assessing candidates, and they would not have enough time to raise adequate funds. Those who were against the ban on corporate funds include the members of Ishihara’s former party who have always received financial support from various lobbies and organizations, as well as those under Hashimoto who felt their candidates were too inexperienced or unknown to raise enough money.
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