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Kunigami mayor denies subsidy fraud charges

Date Posted: 2007-12-28

The government says Kunigami Village in northern Okinawa has misused subsidies, and is demanding it return ¥13 million already received.

Hisakazu Miyagi, the Kunigami Village mayor, says there are no improprieties, and that the construction subsidies are being used on work still in progress. The subsidy money is part of an Okinawa promotion package by the government to generate more gardening and farming activity.

Okinawa Prefectural Police have been called in to investigate not only Kunigami Village, but other communities that have received subsidies. The practice of receiving subsidies before work is completed is also common in other cases, officials said. The total amount of questionable subsidies is ¥125 million in Okinawa.

“There is no other illegal subsidy money,” says Miyagi. “I believe all construction has been completed.” Prefectural Police investigating found that all paperwork had the village mayor’s official seals attached. A total of six seals from different officials is needed to approve construction work.

Prefectural Police were also investigating allegations of construction bid rigging, but say they’ve discovered construction isn’t complete, so their work continues. The central government and Okinawa Prefectural Police are investigating a total of 21 facilities in the prefecture.

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