Corporate donations to Japan’s ruling party driving government’s anti-China military buildup
Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) escort ship 'Kurama,' left, navigates behind destroyer 'Yudachi,' with an Imperial Japanese rising sun war flag, during a fleet review in water off Sagami Bay, south of Tokyo. | Itsuo Inouye / AP

TOKYO—Behind the Japanese government’s policies prioritizing a huge military buildup and the promotion of nuclear power generation lie the huge donations made by corporations in the relevant industries to the ruling Liberal Democratic Party.

New data shows that Prime Minister Fumio Kishida’s party is raking in cash from arms manufacturers and atomic power companies.

According to the 2021 Political Funds Report released by the Internal Affairs Ministry, in the arms industry, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd. and 11 other major firms which have procurement contracts with the Defense Ministry made donations totaling more than 166 million yen ($1.2 million USD) to the LDP’s political fund management body, the People’s Political Association.

Mitsubishi’s Heavy Industries division manufactures missiles for the Defense Ministry, including surface-to-ship guided missiles whose range exceeds 1,000 kilometers, high-speed gliding missiles, and research prototyping technologies to realize hypersonic-speed guided missiles.

The Defense Ministry on April 11 announced that it awarded the company a contract to develop a long-range missile capable of being launched from Maritime Self-Defense Force submarines. The ministry will spend 58.4 billion yen ($429 million) in tax money to conduct this project as part of the government’s policy seeking Japan’s possession of enemy base strike capabilities.

Mitsubishi Electric Corporation, another division of the conglomerate, gave 20 million yen ($147,000) in donations. The company supplies improved intermediate-range ground-to-air guided missiles, a network e-war system, air-to-air guided missiles, and other advanced weapons to the ministry.

Mitsubishi in 2021 donated 33 million yen ($242,000) to the LDP’s fund management body and received a total of 459.1 billion yen ($3.37 billion) in defense contracts, comprising 25.5% of the total value of the ministry’s procurement.

The Japan Atomic Industrial Forum, Inc. (JAIF), consisting of electricity providers and nuclear power-related companies, enthusiastically welcomes the Kishida government policy sticking to the promotion of nuclear power generation.

The Internal Affairs ministry data showed that JAIF member companies, including Hitachi, Ltd. and Nippon Steel Corporation, in 2021 donated nearly 638 million yen ($4.7 million) in total to the LDP. For example, Hitachi, which engages in research and development of an innovative water reactor, and Nippon Steel, which supplies steel materials needed to construct nuclear power plants, made a contribution of 40 million yen ($294,000) and 27 million yen ($198,000), respectively.

Based on the political funds report of the People’s Political Association of the LDP, Akahata found out the amount of political donations provided by the top 20 contract corporations that were awarded the Defense Ministry’s procurement contracts.

The LDP Kishida government is promoting a major military buildup, seeking Japan’s possession of an enemy-strike capability. The government-proposed budget draft for fiscal 2023 allots more than ten trillion yen ($73.5 trillion) for military spending.

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Shimbun Akahata
Shimbun Akahata

Shimbun Akahata (しんぶん赤旗) is the daily newspaper of the Japanese Communist Party.