electronic journal of contemporary japanese studies
Party Financing in Germany and Japan
Comparative Perspectives on Political Corruption
1. IntroductionThe aim of this comparative study is to examine the cultural preconditions of political corruption in Germany and Japan on the basis of the legal framework for party financing. By looking at several party financing scandals in both countries' recent history we shall show the extent to which ways of understanding and patterns of perceiving corruption in general, and political corruption in particular, play a role in the violation of legal rules on party financing and thus lead to 'deviant political conduct'. To begin, it should be noted that both Germany and Japan demonstrate marked similarities when it comes to their historical, economic, and political development, in particular after the Second World War, and their standing as democratic nations. Nevertheless, they are two countries with different cultural traditions, which add a special dimension to the comparison. This dimension consists in identifying the relationship between the institutionalised fight against corruption and patterns of perceiving corruption, and the influence of the latter on corruption prevention. Accordingly, the main objective of the following analysis is to complement the structural analysis on the causes and effects of political corruption with the everyday cultural understanding of the corruption of involved actors. This is a crucial analytical prerequisite, in view of the assumption that not only systemic imperatives and socio-political scope conditions, but also mentality-related perceptions as well as action – and value – orientations can have a structuring impact when it comes to corrupt conduct.
In order to address the questions above, the present study proceeds as follows: In section 2 'Corruption and the political culture of Germany' and section 3 'Politics, business, state: networks in Japan', the problems of political corruption in both countries will be analyzed against the background of their political culture, with a special focus on structures which are especially prone to corruption. Section 4 'An outline of party donation scandals' offers a short description of prominent cases of political corruption in both countries during the 1980s and 1990s, while also providing an in-depth discussion on the structural prerequisites which have led to 'deviant' conduct. Section 5 '(Political) corruption – legal framework for party financing' is closely related to section 4 and shall address important modifications in the institutional anti-corruption framework resulting from severe cases of corruption. Finally, section 6 'Comparative considerations on political corruption in Germany and Japan, offers a cultural sociological analysis of the phenomena of political corruption in Germany and Japan. It puts forward the thesis that as long as legislative anti-corruption measures do not take account of the political system as a whole and neglect structural reasons for the origins of corrupt linkages, they are likely to remain ineffective.
2. Corruption and the political culture of Germany
2. 1 Difference between administrative and political corruptionThere seems to be no straightforward definition of what the necessary and sufficient conditions of political corruption consist of. However, where every act of politically corrupt conduct undoubtedly originates is in receiving/granting advantages, which need not necessarily be of monetary nature. The nature of the action of granting advantages can in turn be traced back to the social relations of exchange. Taking this for granted means that exchange relations taking place between the social spheres of economy and politics may prove the grounds of rule-violating conduct. Now, regardless of what form this rule-violation can take, it is certain that corrupt conduct, being a type of exchange relation, cannot be confounded with that segment of rule-violating exchange relations that is explicitly sanctioned by the penal code. For it pertains to exchange practices that, though perceived as illegitimate, do not as such fall under penal jurisdiction. Therefore political corruption includes both the dimensions of what is prosecutable and what is perceived as socially and ethically illegitimate action.
One of the main determinants for the classification of the phenomenon of corruption in the socio-political context of the Federal Republic of Germany lies in the differences in significance inherent in the institutional and political culture with regard to a) cost/utility calculations of corrupt action and b) the public perception of corruption. Although the legitimacy of the political system is based on the widespread expectation among citizens that the state, under the rule of law, must live up to its systemic requirements, there are striking differences between politics and public administration with regard to attitudes towards and the susceptibility to illegal conduct.
Trained according to Weber's work ethic of administrative-technical professionalisation, public officers and civil servants are held in high regard by citizens due to the efficiency standards which they must meet (Weber 1964: 152). If we add status characteristics such as tenure, bureaucratic accuracy, professional identity to serve the common welfare, and non-partisan integrity, it is immediately apparent why civil servants almost never engage in 'deviant conduct', unless the advantages gained from 'deviant conduct' are of such a magnitude that they outweigh the risks of criminal prosecution (Seibel 1997: 94). Evidently though, the cost/utility calculation places too high obstacles on the willingness of civil servants to breach their duty. On the contrary, the win-loss calculation among politicians does not necessarily have to be so negative, because even though they are subject to investigation by public prosecutors, they are protected by immunity, which shields members of parliament from executive and judicial interventions (Wieselmann 2008). In this manner, this relative 'intangibility' of politicians, which results from the particularly traumatic experiences in the history of German democracy, has the effect – among others – that they feel more committed to the party apparatus than the civilian public. This circumstance also explains why the causes of two of the largest party donation affairs of the past decades, i.e. the Flick Affair (1980s) and the party donation scandal of the Kohl government (1990s) did not lie in the efforts by individual politicians to financially enrich themselves. Rather, the illegal donations were given and taken in the name of matters of national necessity and well-intentioned party welfare.
At least with regard to the above two cases of corruption, which have an exemplary significance due to their magnitude and the involvement of a large share of the political class, it is apparent that the absence of motives for self-enrichment was the decisive factor why they did not trigger a national crisis and the involved parties and politicians did not suffer any long-term damage. This, in turn, is closely linked with the dominant perceptions of corruption in the German public sphere; trust in the rule of law and the factual absence of petty everyday corruption have reinforced the attitude in broader segments of society that corruption is, more or less, equivalent to an 'on-the-job accident'. This view, which downplays corruption, is in part fed by the public perception of the state as an institution which provides for citizens and the self-perception of the parties as the carriers of the state, who have not committed themselves to personal enrichment, rather to party and national interests.
2. 2 Germany's political system in the phase of normalisationThe assumption that the system of political parties in Germany was 'haunted' by corruption scandals in the last two decades can be regarded as legitimate to some extent, as it is rooted in the observation that the first two decades after the war imposed system requirements on the political structure, which allowed little room for unlawful conduct. In their efforts to assert themselves as obedient students of democracy in practice and morality, but also under the constraints of the system in competition with the Eastern Bloc, the leading political and economic circles of the Federal Republic of Germany were most concerned with putting stability, a western orientation, and the democratic fundaments of the newly created state to the test. In the 1980s and in a phase of increasing détente in the East-West confrontation, the economic and political system in its self-perception as a social market economy deemed itself sufficiently consolidated to claim that it had definitively abandoned any special paths and established itself in the 'normality' of the western value-based and institutional community. With the establishment of the Berlin Republic, this normalisation process subsequently also took on a contemporary socio-political and cultural character.
However, in the last decades of the previous century this normalisation went hand and hand with an extensive re-structuring of the party landscape. While the political system was dominated for decades by a 'two-and-a-half' party constellation – consisting of the two large people's parties SPD and CDU, and the Liberals (FDP), who created a coalition with one of the two large parties to form the government – a long-lasting political transformation only took place with the entry of the Greens and later the PDS into the Bundestag (Federal Parliament) and the state parliaments. The established parties increasingly viewed themselves as subject to new competitive pressures, which were accordingly reflected in the large sums of money they require for political campaigns to withstand the competition.
These competitive pressures had an additional dimension, though, which proved to be of crucial significance for the party donation affairs of the 1990s: since the established parties drew a considerable share of their financial resources from state subsidies, they were now faced with a situation of conducting cost-intensive electoral campaigns with a comparatively low level of state funding, as the limits for state party financing had remained the same. If we add the enormous expenditure with which electoral campaigns are associated under the continual presence of the mass media, the sense of under-funding which pervaded large segments of both leading parties, and led to an illegal practice of receiving donations, can explain to a large degree the perceptions and dispositions of the leading actors. Ironically, we must note here that the large party donation scandals of the recent past led, in part, to the 'normalisation' of the political system of the Federal Republic of Germany, which is manifested in those very illegal interdependencies and inter-linkages between politics and business that western societies struggle with from time to time.
3. Politics, Business, State: Networks in JapanThe post-war history of Japan is strikingly similar to that of Germany – at least in terms of the process of 'normalisation' of the socio-political structure. Like Germany, the second 'loser' of the Second World War was forced to partake in 'democratisation education', which was to put an end to the traditions of militarism, among other things. In addition, in both countries after the war, economic and social modernisation was to be combined with the model of parliamentary democracy, which was to add solid foundations to the western orientation of the countries and finally rid the institutional structure of authoritarian and totalitarian state dirigisme. Since the – partial – institutional transfer of democratic conflict-resolution and negotiation mechanisms initially had to be more or less imposed on both societies as a consequence of military defeat, the state was perceived by large segments of the population as an institution of welfare state redistribution policy and as a guarantor of the diffusion of democratic orientations and values.
With regard to the relationships between public administration and politics during the processes of restructuring, to which both countries were subject during their post-war histories, there is a striking difference though. In Germany the state bureaucratic apparatus was able to remain relatively independent from the political sphere due to the professional ethos of objective administrative rationality and therefore hardly became a source of corruption. The Japanese state administration, however, was highly interlinked with the state authorities from the beginning of the previous century and thus highly susceptible to corruption. It is immediately evident that this circumstance has very little to do with the degree of de-centralisation of state power, when one considers that local and municipal administrations are responsible for two-thirds of state expenditure in Japan (Bouissou 1997: 135).
Although limited in terms of numbers, the two people's parties (Christian and Social Democrats) and the Liberals in Germany never attained the monopoly status that the Liberal-Democratic Party held in the Japanese political system from 1955 to 1994. While in Germany the Christian and Social Democrats were able to tie into the pre-war traditions of the conservative parties of the center and the social-democratic workers' movement, safeguard their mass constituencies in the post-war constellation and adapt to the political and ideological demands of the Cold War, the Japanese parties were bound to particular interests due to their strong regional and organisational fragmentation. Contrary to the German mass- and people's parties, which – beyond class affiliation and social interest articulation – laid claim to be parties that represent the large majority of, if not the entire population, the political parties in Japan persistently remained in the position of representing particular interests or merely consisted of the followers of prominent individual politicians in their regional strongholds (Pohl 1981: 170).
Another striking and – with regard to the political system's susceptibility to corruption – highly significant difference between the parties in both countries is the different degree of proximity to economic and financial interests. While the large post-war parties in Germany were conceived to maintain a certain distance from the representation of capital-friendly interests regardless of their socio-ideological and political-organisational ties due to the cataclysmal alliance between large-scale industry and the National Socialists, the conservative party in Japan was very close to industry from the beginning. Since the large parties in Japan were also much more dependent on donations from economic groups and powerful farmers' associations than their German counterparts, who could draw on members' contributions from their large base and state party funding, the institutional conditions for a structurally inherent susceptibility to corruption emerged early amid the tight inter-linkages between interest associations and party officials. An additional reason for this dependence on donations was the fact that, due to conventional clientelistic commitments, the regionally operating politicians were subject to permanent financial difficulties in satisfying the diverse desires of their political clientele.
However, the deeper causes for the institutionalisation of
corruption lie in the notorious 'iron triangle', consisting of the
ministerial bureaucracy, business and conservative policies. The
'iron-like' steadfastness of this interweavement of interests –
beyond the institutional framework – is fed to a large extent by the
independence of politicians in their function as heads of factions,
which are not subject to party political control mechanisms. Their party-internal
position of power is based exclusively on the size of the factions
supporting them and, moreover, the role of formalised decision-making
processes is accordingly marginal if the parties lack an issue- and
program-based orientation. In terms of party structure and
decision-making processes, one can detect another party difference;
even though former Chancellor Kohl violated the rules of inter-party
democracy several times during his chairmanship of the Christian
Democratic Party and safeguarded his unchallenged position of power by
distributing donated funds, this patriarchal party leadership was
additionally intertwined with certain mechanisms of party-political
will formation (Rothacher 2003: 108). By contrast,
formalised procedures and decisions in the
Japanese party sphere are not of a binding nature; the only way for the
party basis to make itself heard by the Tokyo party headquarters and
assert certain interests is by means of individually powerful regional
The following items can likely be regarded as the main characteristics
of the symbiotic relationships in the triangle:
3. 1. Political culture and corruption in JapanIn contrast to the German party system, which has only shown susceptibility on particular occasions to the illegal acquisition of donations, the Japanese party system was burdened by corruption scandals time and time again in the post-war era. Despite the repeated revelations about and convictions of leading politicians from the dominant Liberal-Democratic Party – the fact that the voting behaviour of the population hardly changed over the years has been frequently interpreted as a culturally dependent disposition of Japanese society towards tolerance and acceptance of corruption. Although there are indisputable country-specific features of political culture, which are the necessary condition for the existence of corrupt conduct as an ongoing accompanying phenomenon of political life in Japan, it would be a mistake to view corruption as culturally rooted. Instead, the economic, political and structural motives for corruption can be detected in the interplay of three factors:
Regardless of how important the culture of donations and exchanging services as a framework for the continuous susceptibility to corruption may be, there are also purely economic reasons that may coerce political actors to engage in bribery and corruption. On a general level, one should bear in mind the fact that the traditional ties between the rural population and parties have loosened due to the modernisation and increased mobility of Japanese society. For this reason, the (financial) resources to conduct electoral campaigns which the koenkai (local clubs supporting politicians) must raise to mobilize the electoral clientele have become considerably greater during recent decades. In fact, the required funds have tripled. Another factor contributing to this development is that the increase in the number of virtually 'assigned' mandates to older politicians in the lower house of parliament has led to an increase in competition among newcomers and hence an enormous rise in the costs for the younger generation of politicians to run electoral campaigns. In order to live up to the increasing financial challenges, many politicians engaged in risky financial speculation on the stock market in the 1980s, which occasionally led to considerable asset accumulation, but also to criminal prosecution in cases of tax evasion. The financial efforts imposed on young politicians aspiring for mandates become even larger if we also take into account that young politicians literally must purchase political influence, i.e. must be open towards the concupiscence of economic actors due to the tightly entangled interests of large enterprises and the state bureaucracy.
Although not necessarily rooted beneath culturally defined trade-off based relationships, there are still other reasons that make corruption appear as a structural phenomenon of Japanese political life during the phase of rapid economic growth. First, steady economic growth until the beginning of the 1990s put the regulatory capacity of economic policy-makers under ever increasing pressure. Hence, the role of the state bureaucracy as a political intermediary has continually increased in terms of significance. This is also reflected in electoral processes; with deficient party funding laws and a relatively confusing donation system, a certain kind of expenditure inflation emerged over time which some politicians attempted to overcome with more and more risky methods of procuring funds. Wherever these procurement methods were successful, they generated ostentatious riches, which in turn alienated politicians from their 'bases' and significantly damaged the effectiveness of the koenkai systems.
However, the severely acute constraints to which political operations are subject still remain insufficiently explained if we do not incorporate the major contributor to structural corruption, which tightly linked Japanese politics – at least up to the political and electoral reform of 1994 – to financial cycles and exposed political staff to an increasing urgency to procure funds: the electoral system. Of great significance is, first of all, the candidate selection procedure: although up to six parliamentary representatives could be elected in every district, the voters only have one vote each. Since it was not possible to allocate the individual votes between the candidates of the same party, the different candidates of one and the same party competed against each other.
All these aspects are directly connected with the unique structures of the ruling LDP which must be seen against the background of the electoral system in Japan. The LDP has been thought of as a union of different kinds of factions. Factions have been referred to as 'parties within a party', and the LDP is in a way a coalition formed by various factions. In the past, changes of prime minister meant that intra-party factions would re-shuffle to form another 'faction coalition'. The secret to the LDP's long rule lies in the practice of feigning to change regime by reshuffling intra-party factions to retain power. From a sociological point of view, some say the Japanese mentality of 'mura-ishiki' (community mentality) is found at the root of the factions. LDP intra-party factions have evolved through competing with one another for a majority needed to win power on the premise that the LDP continues to rule on its own. The larger and stronger a faction becomes, the greater is the chance for the faction's leader to become the president of the LDP, which also raises the possibility to become prime minister. Once a faction gains a majority, it can receive 'Umami' (advantages) as the party in power.
Particularly since the adoption of the party presidential election in the 1970s, the factional numbers game has intensified within the LDP. The size of factions which used to have a cap of 50 members expanded and changed from a club type of organisation to an organisation similar to that of a political party. The intra-party factions' battle for power has also become fierce. Japan's unique electoral system, known as the multiple-seat constituency system or the single non-transferable vote electoral system, accounted for the fostering of factions. The multiple-seat constituency system was introduced in 1925 as a result of the political compromise at the time and lasted until 1994. Each constituency had 3-5 seats under this constituency system. A major issue with the multiple-seat constituencies was that it created a situation in which multiple candidates from the same party competed fiercely in the same constituency. This made it difficult for candidates to run election campaigns based on the ideologies of political parties which is the standard in the Western world. Instead of depending on their own political party, the party candidates relied on their koenkai or their private election-backing organisations to run campaigns. Each candidate sets up an individual koenkai sometimes referred to as 'Jibunto' (meaning 'one's own party') and absorbs all the running costs. Thus, the cost of political activities incurred by each politician becomes enormous. From research evidence conducted at the end of 1980s, even young Diet members with experience of being elected once or twice had to bear expenses of over several million dollars per year. In other cases, a bureaucrat was reported to have spent approximately 5 million dollars during the course of 3 years from the time of deciding to run as a candidate until being elected. Politicians are required to secure these funds on their own, which some cite as the main cause of politicians getting involved in illegal activities.
In an effort to expand their own forces, factions have helped candidates by offering financial support, getting the LDP endorsement to back them up during elections, and distributing posts after being elected. Each politician pledges allegiance to the faction in return of its support and they work together to make the faction leader powerful. In other words, they form a feudalistic relationship observed during Japan's middle ages. Until the 1960s it was more common for a politician to join a faction after getting elected and in fact many of them did not officially belong to a faction. Non-affiliated politicians were able to leverage their votes to their advantage against party presidential candidates. From the 1970s onwards, as the battle among factions intensified, factions started to recruit newcomers even before they became candidates. Newcomers are recognised by factions first and then endorsed by the party to become the official candidates. In that sense factions have played a role in selecting candidates for each constituency. The reason why there were five major factions of the LDP from the 1970s to the 1980s had a lot to do with the maximum seat number for each constituency being five under the multiple-seat constituency system. Accordingly, candidates from the same faction hardly competed in the same constituency. It is obvious that factions and multiple-seat constituency systems are very closely connected. When the electoral system switched in 1994 to a combination of single-seat constituencies and proportional representation, the meaning of factions changed dramatically. With no candidates from the same party running in the same constituency under the new system the political party started to take more control in endorsing candidates. Endorsement of incumbents or 'second generation' politicians were given priorities for their electoral advantages. The factions' help especially in gaining the party endorsement became unnecessary.
On the other hand parties have increased their power through the role of distributing funds with the adoption of a party subsidy program. Gradually, parties have started to take more control in reshuffling candidates and adopted an open system for recruiting. As a result, the relationship of politicians and factions based on funding and election backing has weakened. The only remaining power factions have was the distribution of party posts and cabinet appointment but that was also lost when Junichiro Koizumi took office as a prime minister and appointed cabinet members ignoring factions altogether. In other words, the role of factions became smaller in all aspects: financing, backing in elections and distributing posts. However, they still have a role in the party presidential election with its ability to amass large numbers of supporters. That is precisely the reason why the Machimura faction (the former Mori faction, the largest faction in the LDP), a faction which has a record of producing party presidents, still has tremendous power. However, compared to the past, loyalty towards factions has become considerably weaker mainly among younger politicians.
Generally, Japan's political reform is slow-paced. Especially when it comes to the issue of money in politics, the LDP and Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) are both not enthusiastic in revising the control of political funding again, as it could only be detrimental for both parties. They are faced with serious financial situations as corporate donations decline due to the slow economy. However, the issue of money in politics is put under increasing public scrutiny. The demand for tighter control on political funds re-ignited when a political funding scandal was exposed in 2007 which drove Toshikatsu Matsuoka, Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries at the time, to commit suicide. This incident triggered the revision of the law to disclose all political funds but its content is still far from a reform in its true sense.
A tougher control on political funds will be required as long as the issues of money in politics seem to be the main reason for the public's distrust in politics. However, political circles are slow to react to mounting criticism from the public. Each time an issue is raised the flaw in the system is pointed out, but usually ultimately goes unanswered. The LDP and DPJ both share the same problem with regard to the issue of money in politics with both parties running similar election campaigns. The issue of money in politics is not just exclusive to the LDP any more than it used to be. This is evident from the fact that when a problem occurs in the LDP it affects the DPJ much more than before. The fact that the LDP and DPJ share similar issues makes it difficult for the main opposition party to attack the ruling LDP on this point. That is why money scandals are likely to be left unanswered in the end. In that sense, the majority of the people do not expect that the Diet can implement tighter regulation. Since a major reform cannot currently be expected from the Diet one ends up relying on police or prosecutors' investigations. This is not an ideal situation for a country that adopts a parliamentary democracy. In any case, many say the issue lies in the slackening attitude of political parties and politicians as a result of no change in power. What is required in that sense, are increased possibilities to change the governing party.
4. An outline of party donation scandals
4. 1 GermanyA. The Flick Affair
Against the background of the entanglement of powerful economic interests in the National-Socialist political system and also due to the already mentioned reasons, the politics of the post-war era were intent on independence and a certain degree of distance from industry despite corporatist networks. With regard to party financing though, the rule still applied that the SPD – which had a large membership – funded itself primarily from member donations, while the CDU and its Bavarian sister party CSU and the Liberals thrived, above all, on business donations. Only when the political system was sufficiently consolidated at the end of the 1970s and proved receptive to the large-scale capital seeping in, did the process of 'cultivating the political landscape' begin systematically. This influence resulted in the first corruption scandal, which involved the entire spectrum of party politics and went down in the history of corruption in the Federal Republic of Germany as the 'Flick Affair'.
In 1982 the Public Prosecution Office in Bonn reported that it was
investigating several politicians from the FPD, CDU and SPD, who had
taken donations from the firm Friedrich Flick. Otto Graf Lambsdorff,
the Federal Minister of the Economy at that time, and his predecessor
Hans Friderichs were particularly suspected of having received
donations for the FDP as a service in return for the abuse of authority
(order for the tax exemption of the donor). It was assumed that they
had exempted the Flick company from paying taxes on 1.5 billion German
marks from the sale of Daimler-Benz stocks. The justification for this
tax favour was that the mentioned amount from the revenue was
reinvested and therefore according to the income tax law is 'particularly worthy of being promoted from an economic
This fact that the donations did not serve to personally enrich their
rather were passed on to the party,
is also supposed to
have a mitigating impact on the bribery offence. The investigation
committee established by the German Parliament came to the conclusion
that even though the donations were not the causes for the processing
of the tax clearance certificate applications, the Flick company did
clearly violate applicable taxation laws, because it hoped that its
donation practice would result in good will on the part of politicians.
The party donation scandal of
the Kohl government
The wave of revelations in the party donation scandal of the Kohl government was triggered by the State Prosecutors Office in Augsburg, when it investigated a large weapons deal with Saudi Arabia in 1993 and discovered that several hundred million German Marks of bribes had flown into dubious channels. The bribes were given by a weapons supplier to the then CDU treasurer Walther Leisler Kiep and the Kohl confidant Horst Weyrauch before landing in secret accounts of the CDU. Although tax evasion was initially assumed, the question soon arose whether the then-governing party reciprocated these allocated funds with special services in return, i.e. whether the donations were the concrete form of influence and bribability. In order to rebut the accusation of corruption, the former Chancellor Kohl admitted in late 1999 that the CDU had received up to two million German Marks in cash from anonymous donors between 1993 and 1998, but that they were not listed in the party accounting records as donations.
Indeed, the non-specified donations had flown into secret accounts, from which Kohl transferred large amounts of money to numerous party officials and local party associations. However, he also asserted that his government never made itself dependent on economic interests. The confession with regard to the secret accounts triggered a series of revelations on so-called 'reptile funds', which served the purpose of disguising illegal financial transactions, laundering money and blurring the potential relationship between the donations made and the economic policy decisions of the Kohl government. The investigations shed light on additional unlawful sources of income from donations, which led to several convictions. However, Kohl himself,, who refused to reveal the name of the anonymous donor until the very end, could not be prosecuted by law.
The 'Kohl System' and the acceptance of donations, which violate the party funding law, as well as their internal party use to secure loyalty and control over the party committees goes beyond a mere corruption scandal. Even though it was determined by a parliamentary investigation committee that the legal accusation of bribery against the former Chancellor could not be proven, we can still consider this to be a political corruption scandal insofar as the illegal financial transfers served the authoritarian-patriarchal party leadership and damaged democracy within the party. The system of secret accounts functioned in the party apparatus as a kind of regulator, which regulated how conflicts of interests were carried out and created a complex network of relationships and dependences which were characteristic of the CDU as a large party. Like no other party, the CDU embodied the political spectrum of the post-war constellation, which was marked by the corporatist moderation and balancing of conflicts of interest and class.
The fall-out in the system of 'Rhine Capitalism' in
the formation of
internal party groups and the manner in which their contrasts and
conflicts of interests are carried out sound 'harmless', if we take the
inter-party factions in the Japanese LDP into account. In view of the
intensity of the conflicts between the different groups, cliques, and
the LDP, one frequently tends to speak of de facto
parties which struggle – on the basis of clearly
outlined interest intermediation strategies – to exert
influence on the
outcome of decision making processes within the party. Nevertheless,
the observation that the factions are of a purely power-political,
unprincipled, and ideology-free character may come closer to the 'pluralism' of the habatsu
in fact, the LDP is not 'pluralistically' structured as part of a
resolution procedure, due to the pure power struggle and
competition over the position of Prime Minister and the unlimited
access to the resources of the state bureaucracy (Van Wolferen 1989: 139; Okimoto 1988: 183).
professional identity of the LDP
politicians was not characterised by their intermediary representation
of social classes, strata, and group interests, rather by their
clientelistic catering to particular local and sectoral interests. It
certainly would be plausible to assume that the cause for the large
corruption scandals lies in the fact that the manoeuvrability of the habatsu groups
considerably decreased since around the mid-1980s
and the constellations in their political alliances and their chances
of success in the election of the Prime Minister have become
increasingly unforeseeable (Van Wolferen 1989:
4. 2 JapanA. The Recruit Scandal
In striking contrast to the history of political corruption in Germany, which can essentially be reduced to the Flick and Kohl affairs, the decades-long monopoly status of the LDP in Japanese political life was accompanied by a series of corruption incidents. First, the incidents of political corruption are comparable insofar as the long-lasting hegemonic and powerful position of both the German Christian Democratic Union as well as the Japanese Liberal Democratic Party revealed several exemplary characteristics of inter-linkages between the politics, the apparatus and economy, which were illicit, damaged the democratic system, and were ultimately criminal. As regards the Japanese tradition of political corruption, we will restrict ourselves to only two cases of corruption, which more or less stand out in the scandal-ridden political history of the country: the Recruit Scandal of 1988 and the Sagawa-Kyūbin scandal (1992).
Despite the allocation of stocks of its subsidiary firm Recruit Cosmos to political, economic and administrative elites before its initial public offering, the firm Recruit initially did not come under suspicion of seeking concrete advantages by means of bribery at the beginning of the affair (1984-1986). However during the investigations in 1988 it turned out that the funds of the company demonstrated all features of a systematic policy of bribery. Involved in the affair were not only Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Co. (NTT), which had been privatised in 1985, but also top bureaucrats dealing with labour and education affairs, nearly all leading LPD politicians and important representatives of the opposition, the employer's association, the managers' union as well as former state secretaries. While the payments to leading economic representatives were to secure the influence of the company within the industrial associations, the company pursued concrete business interests within the Education and Labour Ministry. In the NTT case, it turned out that the public company was used by the powerful groups within the LPD as a donation procurement instrument both before and after being privatised. The privatisation itself was motivated by the fact that Prime Minister Nakasone Yasuhiro (1982-1987) needed prestigious projects in order to safeguard his internal party position, for example: administrative reform, the appointment of numerous private sector experts and indeed the privatisation of telecommunications, the railways, and the state tobacco and salt enterprises. At a later point in time, Nakasone admitted before the investigation committee of the Diet that he had received 110 million Yen from Recruit. With these bribes to Nakasone and the heads of the parliamentary factions, Takeshita and Shintaro Abe, the CEO of Recruit, Ezoe, wished to purchase his candidacy as well as his membership in the faction. Such transactions were, in principle, not illegal at that time, but it was discovered that Nakasone was active as an intermediary and active promoter of the business relations between TNN and Recruit. As a consequence of the bribery scandal, Nakasone's successor, Prime Minister Takeshita, and his potential successors, Miyazawa and Abe, resigned.
What makes this scandal stand out amid the tradition of corrupt inter-linkages between politics and business is not merely the fact that large sums of money flowed, rather that they were so broadly dispersed. At the end of the investigatory procedures it had become apparent that the company Recruit had given money to almost all leading politicians.
In this regard, we detect several parallels to the German Flick Affair, although in the latter case it could not be determined whether the payments were aimed not only at tax evasion, but also at influencing political decisions. What also characterised the broad-range donation practice of the Japanese company in a certain sense was its aggressive effort to expand its influence on the entire political spectrum and the relevant segments of the state apparatus. Nevertheless, the direct consequences of the penalties imposed did not seriously endanger the monopoly position of the LDP in the Japanese political system. Only the Sagawa-Kyūbin scandal heralded the demise of the party and the restructuring of the party landscape.
B. The Sagawa-Kyūbin
What caused a particularly large flurry of excitement among the public was not solely the fact that Kanemaru did not report the donation in the financial accounts to the Ministry of Finance and therefore violated the party funding law, rather the relations that the transport firm Sagawa maintained with the criminal underworld, i.e. with the gangster syndicate of the yakuza and the criminal association Inagawa-kai (Blechinger 1998: 322). By doing so, he apparently had crossed a boundary and broken a taboo. There have always been illegal party funding and liaisons between politicians and organised crime, but this time the public was informed about all details with regard to the entanglement of leading LDP groups in criminal machinations thanks to the clever media coverage. The public outrage of course could only have a destabilizing impact on the hegemonic position of the LDP. Prime Minister Miyazawa (5 November 1991 to 12 December 1992) indeed declared his will for political reform, but tactical electoral considerations restrained him from taking decisive steps. The refusal of the LDP to support him and the resignation of his government due to a vote of no-confidence triggered a process through which the LDP lost its hegemonic position. This was probably the price it paid for not wanting to or being able to deal with the elimination of the structural causes of corruption. Under his successor, Prime Minister Hosokawa, who was the first Prime Minister in a non-LDP government, a law for political reform was passed in parliament in 1994.
5. (Political) corruption – Legal framework for party financing
5. 1 GermanyWhile the term political corruption does not describe a crime as defined in codified legal documents, German law (StGB) does punish certain forms of corruption, e.g. if a financial payment in advance is made to those who provide a certain service (§334 Bribery and §332 Bribability), or if a certain service is reciprocated afterwards (§331 Acceptance of Advantage §333 Granting of Advantage). The bribing of political representatives in a narrower sense is addressed in §108e of the German Penal Code (StGB). The Gesetz zur Bekämpfung der Korruption (Law on Fighting Corruption) (13 August 1997) and the Gesetz zu dem Übereinkommen vom 17. Dezember 1997 über die Bekämpfung der Bestechung ausländischer Amtsträger im internationalen Geschäftsverkehr (Law on the Agreement of 17 December 1997 on Fighting the Bribery of Foreign Public Officers in International Business Transactions) expand the radius of action for fighting corruption in accordance with legal regulations.
After the party donation affair of the Kohl government as well as other corruption scandals the political parties were forced to adjust the legal framework for party funding and make decisive modifications to the Party Law of 1994. According to the new Law on Political Parties (Gesetz über die politischen Parteien / Parteiengesetz) the German parties are authorised to take donations. However, the amount of donations made in cash may not exceed €1,000. Moreover, the parties are not authorised (§ 25 Para. 2) to accept donations from public bodies, or political foundations and other non-profit bodies and associations of individuals. Rigid rules also apply with regard to the funds that businesses use to cultivate their influence on the political landscape. According to this legislation, the following types of donations are illegal:
5. 2 JapanFundamental tothe legal provisions on party funding is the Political Funding Control Law – PFCL; Law 194/ 29 July 1948), which stipulates the amounts of money that candidates, political associations, or parties may be given for political objectives. §4 of the PFCL divides income into members' contributions, donations and itemised, i.e. donations given to the parties/candidates to carry out a certain activity (e.g. electoral campaigns). Before the introduction of the Political Party Subsidy Law (PPSL) in 1994 there was no state financial support for the parties from tax revenue. According to the PFCL no organisation or private individual may give donations or political contributions to politicians (Blechinger 1998: 222-243). One exception is, however, the right of the parties or their local offices to grant financial support to individuals. Moreover, firms and unions are also excluded from donations to individual politicians and groups, whose objective is the acquisition of donations. However, this rule does not apply to parties or groups of donors. As regards donations to individual politicians or other political organisations, the donations from political parties prove to be the legally stipulated main donation-based income of politicians, regardless whether the donation was made during an electoral campaign or at any other point in time.
The PFCL defines strict rules with regard to the disclosure of income from parties, political associations or individual politicians. Accordingly, the parties and political associations are obligated to present a financial report once a year, although the required information with regard to the received donations differs: while the parties must specify the names of all individuals that have donated more than JPY10,000 during a year, the upper limit for reporting for certain political associations was one million yen. In cases of violation of the financing law, penalties apply: for illegal income by way of donations and violations of the obligation to disclose donations in detail, prison sentences (5 years) or fines (JPY1 million) are stipulated.
The PPSL (Law on State Funding of Parties) passed in 1994 after the scandal debacle of the Liberal-Democratic Party governs the amount of subsidies granted to parties and the total volume, to which political organisations are entitled, as well as reporting obligations. Besides numerous benefits allotted for carrying out electoral campaigns and under the precondition that the parties can cover one-third of their expenses with state support, the parties receive state subsidies amounting to approximately JPY30 million. Of course, certain conditions apply when public financial assistance is granted. These include the number of mandates received as well as percentages of votes (more than five mandates and at least 2% of the votes). Nevertheless, no upper limit was set due to strong protest by the parties. Moreover, after an amendment to the PFCL in 1994 the parties are subject to transparency requirements and the recipients of donations and the supporting associations are required to report donations that exceed JPY50,000 and JPY200,000, respectively. In addition to this, the political reform passed in 1994 concerning party funding stipulates that a) all political organisations and political parties must submit a financial report on income and expenditure to the Minister for General Affairs of the Committee of the Elections Administration, and that b) each individual candidate must keep accounts of income/expenses and present them to the committee of his/her electoral district.
These obligations to report donations are supported by limitations concerning the sources of the donations; political parties are not allowed to receive donations from certain persons, employees, organisations or firms. Furthermore, the donation limits are set twice, both with regard to the total volume that a donator may give to (all) political parties in one year (JPY20 million) as well as for the total donations which go to a certain party or their supporting associations (JPY1.5 million). Donations are also subject to the restriction that businesspeople may only make donations to political parties and their regional/local offices by way of supporters' associations who collect donations. The PFCL and PPSL are supplemented by an electoral law (Public Offices Election Law – POEL), which sets limits for income and expenses of the candidates during electoral periods. In this manner, the expenditure of a candidate may not exceed JPY23-29 million depending on electoral district. Even though the guidelines of the POEL are generally very strict, they can be avoided in practice insofar as the candidates report their expenditure as part of their political, non election-related activities or artificially 'extend' the electoral period as well.
shortcomings can be identified in the legal instruments for regulating
party financing (Kohno 2001). This criticism applies, above all, to the
insufficient legal regulations on monitoring donations from businesses to
individual politicians, as direct donations are forbidden, but the parties
can still pass on received donations to their local offices and then in
turn to individual politicians (Ejima 2006: 149). In this
manner, the local and regional offices of the parties function as a kind
of financial source for their local politicians. Moreover, the fact that
the financial transfers among the different regional party organisations,
clubs of supporters and donating associations may exceed the legally
defined donation levels is equal to money laundering. Even if this does
not have to be the case every time, the increase of the number of regional
party offices by the LDP is regarded as a tactic to circumvent the ban on
donations to clubs of supporters: by these means the regional offices of
the parties can operate as direct recipients of donations.
Regarding the influence of
the new electoral system (1994) on party financing the following should be
stated: The electoral reform is said to have cut the cost of campaigning
by half. Although the new system is more political party-driven, the
Communist party and the New Komeito party are the only parties that bear
all the campaign costs of their members. Other parties including the
LDP have a weak financial base which makes them unable to cover all
the cost of campaigns and daily operations of each members. Only
about 30-40 per cent of their political funds are covered by the
party they belong to. The rest of the funding is left up to each
politician to secure on his/her own. Also, political parties have a
weak power base in constituencies which is the reason why their
members still rely on their koenkai
for their campaigns. Nothing much has changed from the time of
multiple-seat constituency. They still need funding to manage and
maintain their koenkai. The need
for political funds, though weaker than before, still remains strong.
However, corporate donations which are known to be reliable financial
sources have dwindled with the campaign fund reform and the economic
recession. Politicians hold fund-raising parties while they struggle to
seek ways to secure political funds by getting around the system.
It has been nearly 10 years since the political reform was realised. The new system presents a new set of issues and another reform is required. The first issue is related to the management of political funds. In Japan, political funds can be given in cash whereas in Europe and the United States funds can only be transferred through banks. Japan should surely ban political funding in cash, which instead should be managed through a specified bank account. The second point is related to the political fund reporting system. In Japan there are two types of political fund reporting. One is managed by the central government and the other is managed by each prefectural and city government. Some argue that it is difficult to see the flow of the funds as the reports are done separately. On top of that, Japan restricts the disclosure of reports. Accordingly, there is a need to integrate and manage political fund reports and disclose the balance of payments via internet, which has been answered by amending the Political Funds Control Law in 2007. The overhaul of the report check system and information disclosure via the internet has already begun.
There is also the issue of local chapters. In Japan a local chapter can be set up by an individual politician without the authorisation of the political party. LDP politicians have their own local chapters. There are more than 4000 chapters just within the LDP. Almost all politicians who belong to the LDP from Diet members to town and village assembly members have their own local chapters. A local party chapter acts more like a body to receive donations than a base for political activities. Under the law local party chapters are entitled to the same rights as the political party which gives the local chapters a right to receive corporate donations. Politicians are using their own chapters as a 'loophole' to receive corporate donations which are banned for individual politicians. The head of the local chapter is the politician who sets it up. This makes the chapter more like personal property than the political party's local chapter. The reality is that political donations come from the local chapter become funds for the individual politician. If this issue remains unaddressed, the ban of corporate donations to individual politicians will become less important. Accordingly, rectifying the relationship between local chapters and politicians is highly needed. However, opposition parties are also reluctant to tighten control on this particular point. There is still no sign of improvement at this stage.
Another issue is that corporations offer politicians not necessarily political funds, rather services such as dispatching secretaries and drivers, providing cars and offices. Corporations exploiting the ambiguity of the law and offering indirect donations in a form other than political funding is becoming a problem. In any case, individual politicians are the ones who get in trouble, hardly the political parties, when corruption scandals or incidents involving money in politics are exposed. One issue that surfaced was the 'diverted donations' in which money from a corporation is diverted to a politician through a political party. This has been recognised as a problem but legal restrictions have not been imposed yet. Political parties are in practice overlooking these illegal practices. In the LDP's case individual members have more power than the party itself, resulting in strong reluctance to putting restrictions on receiving donations. Political parties unable to take sufficient care of the members' campaign funds and political activities are allowing such practices to take place. The challenge is to improve both the financial strength and the influential power of political parties over individual politicians.
6. Comparative perspectives on political corruption in Germany and JapanIf we look at the party financing scandals in Germany and Japan from the angle of the criteria for political corruption, the only remaining doubt is likely whether we equally can speak of structurally induced corruption in both cases. A typology of corruption from a political science standpoint certainly offers critical indications on how to develop an analytical and theoretical framework which lays out a relatively context-independent structure of criteria based on the variability of cultural, social and political contexts. Nevertheless, one can assume that a structure-oriented analysis of corruption will miss its target if it does not take into account the 'conventional everyday theories on corruption', i.e. regionally and culturally specific perceptions of corruption among political and administrative decision-makers, in practices in various institutions and public authorities, and above all among citizens and the media. After all, not only systemic imperatives and socio-political regularities can have a structuralising impact, but also mentality-based perceptions, habitualised attitudes as well as behavioural and value-based orientations.
Therefore a political science structural analysis must be juxtaposed to a cultural sociology approach, which focuses on the everyday practical understanding of corruption among actors. This approach goes beyond culture-based explanatory patterns insofar as it downplays the cultural factor with the argument that actors can be attributed a certain reflective distance to their cultural milieu in such a way that they can exploit socio-cultural patterns for their own objectives. With regard to corrupt conduct, this is of particular significance, because it is frequently the case that illegal behaviour is legitimated in the eyes of the actors by way of prevailing cultural conditions/practices or that illegal behaviour is in conformity with them. In this context, it is therefore not so much a matter of completely explaining the phenomenon of corruption as such, i.e. from a political science and culture-based perspective, etc., rather addressing those mentality-based attitudes of actors, which are indispensably a part of the rationale of corrupt conduct. However, since this can be done by also addressing the structural aspects of political corruption, we will explain just a few, often overlapping aspects.
We cannot speak of such a balance of power in the Japanese case because the political dominance of the LPD between 1955 and the early 1990s was too large for any other party to pose a serious threat to it and thus cause any damage to its finances. However, it did continually suffer financial disadvantages during the very fierce battles between factions of the party. Carried out by clientelistic power-seeking groups (Beyme 1984: 287) within the party, these battles are not based on any issue-related differences, rather on directly securing electoral resources. In this regard, the non-ideology-driven party competition among the factions within the LDP stands in stark contrast with the self-perception of the CDU under Kohl. The illegal income that Kohl received from donations indeed served to 'pacify' the factions within the party, which incidentally differed in terms of their – if not severely – at least strikingly different views. Yet the 'adjustment' of the internal party balance by way of the received funds and the orientation towards the authoritarian leadership style of the party chairman was according to Kohl and his fellow combatants subordinate to the aim of safeguarding the political and ideological dominance of the conservative party in the 'systemic competition' with the social democrats. The difference in terms of goal setting, at least as concerns the self-perception of the actors, underlines the typological difference between patronage-based and ideology-based parties.
In a certain manner though, a comparison with the amakudari system would be applicable, but in the other direction: not from the ministerial bureaucracy to the private sector, rather vice-versa. For some time now, a potentially corrupt trend can be observed in the Federal Republic of Germany as companies from the industrial, energy, insurance and banking sectors have been able to 'position' more than 100 of their representatives in federal ministries. This has enabled them to actively participate in writing legislative bills, amending laws or developing measures (Adamek and Otto 2008). Although the Federal Court of Auditors has carried out numerous inspections, it is more than justified to ask to what extent these paid company representatives undercut the independent decision-making authority of the state. After all, no matter how genuine the government's efforts are to downplay suspicions that the incorporation of these external experts into administrative activities has enabled them to influence decisions of top federal agencies, there are reasons for doubt: two external employees were even given positions as heads of divisions. In view of the fact that at least 100 lobbyists are (were) active in the ministries in the interest of private enterprises, it may be assumed that this was one of the reasons for the emergence of political corruption according to the classical pattern of blurring boundaries between the common welfare and private interests.
PostscriptThe largest opposition Japanese party, the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ), scored a landslide victory in the general election of 30 August 2009, capturing more than 300 of the 480 seats in the House of Representatives. This development, although expected according to polls prior to the elections, can be seen as a real 'earthquake' in Japanese politics. Yukio Hatoyama, leader of the DPJ, gets finally 'his chance', as stated by the Japan Times on 31 August. Yet, it is not quite certain if the Japanese voters who voted in favour of the DPJ are convinced about the capability of the DPJ to bring about a real change in Japanese politics and society or if they have just 'punished' the coalition government led by the Liberal Democratic Party and Prime Minister Taro Aso in view of its obvious inability to solve the urgent problems which Japan faces, caused by the recent economic crisis but also due to structural deficiencies in a number of socio-economic fields. It goes without saying that many challenges await the new government to be headed by the DPJ in the fields of public finances, pensions, the rebuilding of the healthcare system, and so on, while the new government has no choice but to fulfil the various promises it has made to the public. For, the greater the expectations, the greater the disappointment when those expectations remain unfulfilled. However, gentle ambitions (or promises) and pragmatic pre-conditions as a frame for day-by-day political handling are two quite different things. Against this background the question that arises reads; to what extent can pre-election promises be transformed into concrete restructuring action? Whatever the outcome of the efforts of the new government towards change there is, however, an important new trend in Japanese politics which has been confirmed by the recent general election. Japan has entered an age in which, more than ever, the public seems to be more critical and ready to break with traditional political affiliations as well as being more interested than in the past to monitor politics.
 Comparing perceptions of corruption and according to
the Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) annually published by Transparency
International, Japan and Germany ranged over the last three years as
Corruption Perceptions Index 2007
Corruption Perceptions Index 2008
 Nonetheless, the integrity of the administrative state apparatus does not guarantee that the inter-linkages between politics and business are immune to deviant corrupt conduct: see Girling (1997: 172).
 Therefore, the notion of 'gain politician' is extremely rare in the German context. See McKay (2003: 55). On the contrary the political system and especially party financing regulations in Japan, as will be discussed in detail below, has forced politicians to resort to deviant methods in order to secure financial means. These refer either to financing electoral campaigns or presenting thanksgivings to politicians for favouring particular economic interests within the policy and decision making framework.
 In this regard, it is not surprising that during the parliamentary hearings on the donation affair of the Kohl government and the corruption scandal of the SPD in Cologne, both the former Chancellor as well as leading social democrats appealed to the 'precarious' party funding situation and the resulting competitive disadvantages. They did so to justify the urgent need for increased income from donations and thus to make the propensity to engage in unfair methods of acquiring donations appear as widely comprehensible, albeit not necessarily justified. See Project Crime & Culture, Overall Scientific Report (2006: 217).
 See also Gary W. Cox, Frances M. Rosenbluth, and Michael F. Thies (2000: 115-122).
 Regardless of how strong clientelistic patterns may be in politics, it would be false to attribute a hierarchical, static, and group-oriented character to Japanese society as a whole. See Deutsches Institut für Japanstudien (1991) and Ölschleger (1994).
 The exaggeration of the influence of the state bureaucracy and that of MITI has additionally been criticised: Colignon and Usui (2001: 866).
 Nevertheless, amakudari politicians cannot be conceived as the sole decision-makers and power center of Japanese business and politics, as it is misleading to attribute to them the role of centralised leadership or hierarchical authority (Van Wolferen 1989: 44). Rather, the amakudari system should be understood as a power structure without a control and steering center. Nevertheless, this centrality thesis is not unchallenged and traces its significance, which is regarded as relatively marginal, back to the pressure that businesses exert on the state apparatus in order to create 'friendly' economic policies for them (Galder 1989: 392). Amakudari politicians are, as a rule, employed in firms that do not have substantial means of accessing the decision-making centres of national economic policy. This results in a form of 'egalitarianism'. Blechinger on the other hand, takes the focus off the amakudari politician and claims that political corruption (e.g. the Recruit and Sagawa scandals) could only flourish when making political donations was the only possibility for new, emerging firms without an amakudari basis to be 'listened to' and attract attention (Blechinger 1998: 350). Schaede rejects the view on the marginal role of the amakudari politicians in the broader economic context, but still attributes to them the intended role of procurers of favourable economic policies (Schaede 1995: 293).
 This is more likely a case of a unique mixture of pre-modern (e.g. social relationships, patronage, clientelism, etc.) and modern (i.e. paying bribes, bending laws, etc.). practices. See Heberer (2001: 7). See also Johnson (2001), Reed (1996) and Curtis (1999).
 See Hisao Katoh: Corruption in the Economic World in Japan. Acts of the International Conference Milan, (2000).
 Richard H. Mitchell offers an interesting overview of the historical development of the practice of bribery and the preventive measures in Japan: Political Bribery in Japan (1996).
 See Gary W. Cox and Michael F. Thies: The Cost of Intraparty Competition. The Single, Nontransferable Vote and Money Politics in Japan (1998).
 Or 'plutocratic financing'. This fundraising pattern can originally be found in all 'centre-right' parties (Naßmacher 1997: 166f). This is one of the reasons why in such cases of 'precautionary support' the term political corruption takes on a characteristic modern nuance of indefiniteness (Girling 1997: 17).
 However, this does not apply to municipal decisions and procurements and concessions in individual states: Since the party treasuries were not recognisably the beneficiaries of the bribes, one may conclude that it was a case of personal enrichment of public officers (Naßmacher 1997: 168).
 Blechinger paints a more optimistic picture of the internal party factions (Blechinger 1998: 95).
 In general, the different corruption scandals can be divided into three classes: a) those which emanated from pure or insatiable greed for money on behalf of politicians; b) bribery scandals, in which mid-level state and administrative officials attempted to emulate the consumption patterns and standard of living of those at the top of the hierarchy; and c) corrupt linkages between LDP politicians, large firms, and organised crime (Rothacher 2003: 111).
 To streamline the penal provisions on anti-corruption, Schaupensteiner has recommended adapting the crime of bribing elected officials to the provisions with regard to malpractice by public officials (§§ 331 et seq StGB), so that all essential spheres of political activity are covered (Schaupensteiner 2004: 130).
 Bundesgesetzblatt (Federal Legislation Journal) Year (1997 Part 1 No. 58).
 Deutscher Bundestag (German Parliament) (Printed matter 13/140); Naßmacher (1997).
 As stated in the notification from 31 January 1994, last changed by Art. 2 of the law from 22 December 2004.
 See Transparency International Deutschland: Vorschläge für die Reform der Parteienfinanzierung (2007).
 On the history of the collapse of the party political hegemony of the LDP in 1993 see Kohno (1997: 135).
 The main objective of the 1994 reform consisted in making direct political donations by businesses to elected officials illegal and ensuring that the financial needs of the politicians are met exclusively by the party and its regional offices (Blechinger 2000).
 Thus, sometimes the misrepresentations are coincidentally discovered. This took place, for example, during the Kanemaru Scandal when the donation, which he had illegally received from the Firm Sagawa, was only discovered as a result of the revelations during the Sagawa Scandal.
 i.e. a) the use of public office and mandate as political resources to assert 'private' interests; b) the 'trade-off' character of political and economic resources; and c) conflicts between private and public interests (Alemann und Kleinfeld 1997: 263).
 Political scientists and economists have sometimes argued that some forms of political corruption may increase the effectiveness and efficiency of politics and the economy especially in highly centralised political systems. This is indeed true of the dirigist functioning of the centralised economies of the former socialist countries. Corruption was a structural feature of economic rationality. Some of the aspects of this structural corruption can be seen (among others) in the following facts: a) the high rents achieved by the companies due to little or no competition were a permanent source of bribes and kickbacks for the regulators of the state economic apparatus; b) the other side of the coin was of course that the managerial state bureaucracy – as the sole and uncontrolled decision-making authority – also used its power of allocating resources among the state enterprises by means of extracting bribes and other private payments; and c) this kind of resource allocation through all sorts of extra payments became deeply entrenched and in a certain way indispensable in keeping the economy going. In this sense one could speak of 'legitimate' corruption to the extent that it functioned as a steering mechanism of resource allocation. But this holds by no means true of such liberal democracies as Germany and Japan. For important insights regarding potentially positive effects of corruption on state controlled markets see Bardhan (1997), Mauro (1995), Hirano (2006), Nyblade and Reed (2008) and Shiratori (1995).
 The mechanisms of this 'fusion of elites' are of course subject to changes.
 Accordingly, one can argue that not only the established intersections between bureaucracy and business provide for the coordination between capital-interests and the state, which are indispensably needed for economic planning. However, functional significance can also be attributed to political donations insofar as they open access to the most important decision-makers for certain segments of the private sector, which do not yet have any set relationships with the state bureaucracy.
 See Project Crime and Culture (2006: 12).
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Dr. Angelos GIANNAKOPOULOS is currently Head of Office of the research projects 'Crime and Culture' (Sixth Framework Programme of the European Commission) and 'ALACs' (Seventh Framework Programme of the European Commission), Research and Teaching Associate at the Department of Sociology of the University of Konstanz, Germany. He earned his Ph.D. in Sociology at the University of Tübingen, Germany and his Masters in Political Science and Public Administration at the University of Athens. He was Visiting Professor at the Universities of Cyprus, Galatasaray, Istanbul and Eötvös Lorand University of Budapest. He was Visiting Researcher at the Archive of the European Parliament in Luxemburg and at the European Institute of Budapest, Visiting Scholar at the Center for International and Area Studies at Yale University, USA, Fellow of the Japanese Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS) and Visiting Scholar at Waseda University, Tokyo, Japan. Fields of research and teaching include: Sociology of Knowledge, Sociology of Culture, Political Sociology, European integration, modernisation of South Eastern Europe, cultural aspects of corruption, qualitative methods of social research.
Mr. Shinya AMANO is Research Associate of Japanese political studies at Nihon University College of Law, Tokyo, Japan. His research interests are legislative studies, particularly focusing on activities of legislators in Tokyo and their districts, political recruitment and political communication of legislators. He has published several articles including 'Political Recruitment in the 2003 General Election' (The Japanese Journal of Law and Political Sciences 43, 1, 2006, in Japanese).Dr. Dr. Konstadinos MARAS is lecturer at the University of Tübingen, Faculty of Cultural Sciences. His special research and teaching interests are Critical Theory, Aesthetics and the History of American Art, European Identity and Integration. He is a participant in the EU-funded research programmes, 'Crime and Culture' and 'ALACs' as methods manager supervising the usage of the qualitative, computer-supported content and data analysis.
Giannakopoulos, Konstadinos Maras, and Shinya
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