On September 25, 2006, Keidanren released its annual policy assessment of the Liberal Democratic Party and the Democratic Party of Japan. Keidanren is urging its 1,300 member companies to financially support political parties by using its policy assessment as a yardstick. Donations offered in such a way will accelerate "policy competition" among political parties. Moreover, the financial assistance leads to carrying out corporate social responsibilities through establishing "policy-oriented politics."
Keidanren launched this assessment in 2004 because it believes political parties must focus on policies to build a future-oriented, vibrant, and attractive Japan. Amid to intensifying competition in an increasingly globalized economy, the rise and fall of nations depend heavily on their institutions and policies. Japan needs a fundamental reform of economic structure to make full use of efforts of individuals and corporations.
Lawmakers and political parties must focus on executing policies, rather than merely focusing on election wins and a numbers game to maintain power. In addition to voluntary efforts by the parties to improve their policy-making capabilities, people and companies of this country need to support political parties in a proactive manner -- based on their policies.
Keidanren's policy assessment reflects the viewpoint of the business community. Keidanren has tried to ensure that policies of the parties would be examined in a transparent manner and in ways that promote benefits to the Japanese economy as a whole. Therefore, Keidanren openly announced its 10 Priority Policies, measures to judge political parties' policies, actions, and results. The priority policies issued in November last year serve as basis of policy assessment in 2006.
Japan's business community supports the Keidanren's initiative. In 2005, Keidanren member companies seemed to donate 2.5 billion yen. This showed more than 30 percent increase since 2003. 150 more member companies participated in political donations.