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Police Defend Themselves Against Corruption, Public Funds Misuse

Date Posted: 2004-03-25

Japan’s National Police Agency is finding itself in the midst of some big scandals.

Charges are being leveled against the law enforcement agency in almost all of Japan’s 43 prefectures. Accusations by the nation’s Citizens Ombudsman Committee Group are that police have been using public money to finance private activities.

The group has researched and published a report on police corruption, including a Y200 million party during the 2002 World Soccer Championships in Japan, and Y87,000 for a party hosted by Okinawa Police.

The Gushikawa City party, say the critics, was a private activity, yet peoples’ tax money was spent for food and drink.

The ombudsman’s public ranking for Okinawa Prefecture Police is very low, “almost no points at all on a scale of 0~100” because of illegal conduct. The ombudsman group says there was no pretense of official business, simply spending tax money “for their own party.” The group said Okinawa Prefectural Police should not use government money for parties, but should use their own instead.

Prefecture Police officials responded to the charges, defending their actions. A spokesman said “the purpose of the party was because of scandals involving American military personnel had ended, and the investigation was on such a tight schedule we just wanted to have a little break from the scandal.” He said after the party “we can go on again with full power. I don’t think we were wrong.”

The ombudsman group also produced a receipt book which showed police holding a dinner at an isakaya, during which they ordered food and drinks. The group spokesman asked “Is that a correct wat to spend the tax money for a consolation party of their own? No. No. It is wrong. Police should have to spend their own money to buy foods and drinks.”

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