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TMCNet:  DPJ vice leader received donations from multi-level marketing firms+

[October 18, 2008]

DPJ vice leader received donations from multi-level marketing firms+

(Japan Economic Newswire Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) TOKYO, Oct. 18_(Kyodo) _ Hajime Ishii, vice president of the main opposition Democratic Party of Japan, received 4.5 million yen in political donations in 2003 from multi-level marketing agents, which often come under criticism for their sales tactics, according to an official political funds report.

The donation was made by the Network Business Political Union -- a group consisting of multi-level marketing firms -- and one such firm to a DPJ chapter in Hyogo Prefecture, which was then headed by Ishii.

The revelation showed another link between the DPJ and the industry. The industry is legal, but has often received complaints about its sales tactics.

Earlier this month, House of Representatives member Yukichi Maeda left the party and said he will not run in the next general election, after his links with the industry were disclosed.

Maeda received at least 5.9 million yen from multi-level marketing agents and defended the industry in remarks in the Diet and in statements on his website.

In February, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry ordered Neways Japan K.K., one of Japan's largest multi-level marketing companies in terms of sales, to suspend part of its business for three months for making unwarranted criticism of the products sold by rival companies in soliciting business.

Neways distributors lied to promote sales, saying, for example, that kitchen detergents sold by other firms contain toxins that can be absorbed through the skin and accumulated inside the body, eventually causing cancer, according to METI.

Copyright ? 2008 Kyodo News International, Inc.

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