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HOME  > Past issues  > 2007 May 30 - June 5  > Advertising agencies are heavily engaged in politics
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2007 May 30 - June 5 [POLITICS]

Advertising agencies are heavily engaged in politics

June 2, 2007
Japanese Communist Party Dietmember Yoshii Hidekatsu takes a serious view of the situation in which Japanese leading advertising agencies, such as Dentsu Inc. and Hakuhodo Inc., are increasing their involvement in politics.

Yoshii conducted research on the question and took it up last month in a House of Representatives Cabinet Committee meeting.

The ruling Liberal Democratic Party and the opposition Democratic Party of Japan are spending about 20 percent of their government subsidies for advertising purposes. The LDP is using Dentsu, the leading agency in Japan, and the DPJ using Hakuhodo, the second largest agency.

The LDP received government subsidies of 76.4 billion yen between 2001 and 2005. It used 13.7 billion yen (17.9 percent of the subsidy) for political advertising in TV commercials. The party paid Dentsu about 2.7 billion yen, according to Yoshii.

In the same period, the DPJ received subsidies of 50.4 billion yen and spent 12 billion yen (23.7 percent) for advertising. It paid Hakuhodo about 7.3 billion yen.

Furthermore, these two advertising firms undertook nearly 60 percent of government publicity campaigns.

The Cabinet Office in the same period awarded contracts of 13.2 billion yen in total for publicity. Dentsu won contracts of about 5 billion yen (37.6 percent) and Hakuhodo about 2.5 billion yen (18.7 percent).

Yoshii revealed that as of April 2006, 12 ex-bureaucrats have been rehired at Dentsu, and five at Hakuhodo.

Commenting on his research results, Yoshii on June 1 said, “The fact that the advertising agencies are exerting more influence on politics has grave implications for the future of Japan’s democracy.” - Akahata, June 2, 2007
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