Business lobby to end donation drive

Nippon Keidanren (Japan Business Federation) plans to stop soliciting political donations from its members starting this year, in part because of the ascendancy of the ruling Democratic Party of Japan, which opposes such fund raising, sources said Wednesday.

The move by the nation’s most influential business lobby, with a membership of 1,600 companies and organizations, could result in a sharp drop in political donations, the sources said.

In 2008, it raised about 3 billion yen ($33 million) in donations from its members. Nearly 2.7 billion yen went to the Liberal Democratic Party, which was toppled from power in the Lower House election last August after more than five decades of almost uninterrupted rule.

But Nippon Keidanren leaders concluded that its orchestration of donations was incompatible with the DPJ’s political platform and growing public outrage at scandals involving political donations.