TOKYO -- Running for office costs a lot of money. The amounts vary and the sources of funding differ from one country to another, but that is the reality all over the world. In Japan's case, two important sources of cash for election hopefuls are donations and controversial "fundraising parties."
In their quest to win over voters, candidates can burn through huge amounts of money, printing posters, distributing leaflets and running TV and newspaper ads. They also have to rent campaign offices and hire staff.