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HOME  > Past issues  > 2013 February 13 - 19  > Osakans seek return of wages paid to mayor’s special secretary
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2013 February 13 - 19 [POLITICS]

Osakans seek return of wages paid to mayor’s special secretary

February 14, 2013
A group of 79 Osaka citizens on February 13 filed a complaint with the city audit committee to seek the return of wages paid to the mayor’s special secretary, claiming the payment is illegal.

Osaka City Mayor Hashimoto Toru in January 2012 established a city ordinance to create the position of special secretary to the mayor. He hired Okushita Takemitsu, whose mother is the head of a Hashimoto supporter association. Since February, Okushita has received a monthly salary which is about the same amount as the salaries for department chiefs of the city office.

A citizens’ political funds ombudsman group in Osaka recently revealed that the city government has no documents related to the establishment of the city ordinance regarding the special secretary position and about details of the secretary job responsibilities as well as procedures used to hire Okushita. It also found out that Okushita has never submitted to the city any reports on his activities.

In the complaint, the citizens group criticized Hashimoto’s pick of his support club head’s son for his aide as a conflict of interest. Arguing that the wage payment to Okushita violates the Local Finance Act, the group demanded that the mayor return about 5.56 million yen of public money that was paid to Okushita over the past year and stop future spending for so-called “special aide” positions.

As special secretary’s duties, the Osaka City government last month cited handling of relations between central government offices and political parties at national and local levels and carrying out of special assignments given by the mayor.

The citizens group said, “In order to fulfill these duties there is no need for the mayor to hire an extra person with the salary of a senior level municipal worker.”
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