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HOME  > Past issues  > 2015 February 18 - 24  > Agriculture Minister should be accountable for dubious money received from sugar industry
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2015 February 18 - 24 [POLITICS]

Agriculture Minister should be accountable for dubious money received from sugar industry

February 21, 2015
Akahata editorial (excerpt)

Agriculture Minister Nishikawa Koya has come under fire in the Diet after the revelation that a local Liberal Democratic Party branch headed by Nishikawa received donations from companies that had been granted state subsidies, allegedly in violation of the law.

In the eight years since 2006, Nishikawa accepted more than eight million yen from the sugar-manufacturing industry which will directly suffer damage from Japan’s entrance into the Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade pact. Nishikawa, the incumbent agriculture minister and the former chair of the ruling LDP’s task force on the issue, has been engaged in negotiations for the TPP. If he takes advantage of the sugar industry’s concern over the trade pact to collect political donations, it will be totally unacceptable.

The Political Funds Control Law bans companies and organizations from making political donations for one year after they receive state subsidies, aiming to prevent the subsidy from being used as a reward to political parties. This is supposed to be common knowledge among politicians.

It is also impermissible that Nishikawa accepted the donation from the sugar industry while being in charge of the TPP issue in the ruling LDP. Sugar is one of Japan’s “five key agricultural products”, along with rice and beef and pork, which could receive a heavy blow with the signing of the free trade pact. Farmers are strongly opposing an increase in imports of these products. If the sugar industry made the donation with the intent to influence the course of the TPP negotiations and Nishikawa knowingly accepted it, they should be called into question. Nishikawa needs to be held accountable for the donation.
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