Japan's opposition party funded online media

NHK -- Jan 08
A Japanese online media platform has acknowledged that it received funds from the country's largest opposition Constitutional Democratic Party.

A co-leader of Choose Life Project disclosed on Thursday that the platform began receiving money through an ad agency and a production company from March 2020 to cover production costs. The total amount was about 130,000 dollars.

The online media platform distributes debate programs on Diet affairs and elections.

The co-leader said the support ended after the platform started crowd funding in July that year to become public media supported by citizens, but he did not tell viewers and those who appeared on its programs about the party's aid.

He announced his resignation from the post, saying he had betrayed the public.

The issue came to light after five guests of the programs released an open letter of protest on Wednesday.

They argue that receiving funds from a political party runs counter to media ethics and failing to disclose the fact is a grave breach of public trust.

Constitutional Democratic Party Leader Izumi Kenta told reporters on Friday that the party is looking into the case, and will give a briefing once its probe is complete.

Fukuyama Tetsuro, who was the party's secretary general when the funds were provided, said the party provided the financial support because it agreed with the ideal of countering fake news.

Fukuyama also said the party had decided to extend support until the media could become financially independent, and ended the help when the platform said it no longer needs aid.

He and the co-leader of the media confirmed that the party had no say in program content.