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HOME  > Past issues  > 2007 May 23 - 29  > Mie Prefectural Assembly to abolish members’ overseas trip at public expense yielding to JCP demand
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2007 May 23 - 29 [POLITICS]

Mie Prefectural Assembly to abolish members’ overseas trip at public expense yielding to JCP demand

May 23, 2007
The party representatives of the Mie Prefectural Assembly on May 22 agreed in principle on the abolition of payments for its members’ overseas inspection trips which the Japanese Communist Party has long criticized as misappropriation of tax money.

The prefectural assembly has been allowing all members to expend up to about 1.2 million yen for one inspection trip abroad during their term of office.

In the past four years, 48 assembly members used this system. They all billed the prefecture the maximum allowed travel expense of about 1.2 million yen each, although their destinations and length of trips varied.

The JCP made representations last November to the then prefectural assembly chair to put an end to such a practice that uses up 60 million yen in a four-year legislative term of office.

In the prefectural assembly election in April, the JCP’s revelation of these facts provoked voters’ resentment. Public criticism of assembly members -- “all-are-ruling-parties” forces -- who had traveled abroad using this system grew rapidly.

The JCP obtained two seats in the prefectural assembly where the JCP had no seat before the election.

As soon as the extraordinary session of the prefectural assembly began, the JCP members submitted to the newly elected assembly chair a request to abolish the system.

JCP assembly member Hagiwara Ryokichi said, “Faced with strong public criticism, no party dared to oppose the JCP’s proposal. However, some members are insisting that the political research funds could be used for overseas inspection trips. The JCP will call on other parties to completely disclose expenses and reduce the amount of funding.” - Akahata, May 23, 2007
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