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HOME  > Past issues  > 2014 May 21 - 27  > Assemblypersons went sightseeing abroad using tax money: Supreme Court
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2014 May 21 - 27 [POLITICS]

Assemblypersons went sightseeing abroad using tax money: Supreme Court

May 21, 2014
The Supreme Court on May 20 upheld the Tokyo High Court’s decision which recognizes Yamanashi Prefectural Assembly members’ four overseas tours as pleasure trips and orders them to return the travel expenses. The high court judgment was finalized.

At a press conference after the ruling, Yamamoto Daishi, who represents the prefectural liaison council of citizens’ ombudspersons, on behalf of the plaintiffs said, “It is significant that the court clearly stated that the study trips by assemblypersons were actually sightseeing trips at taxpayers’ expenses.”

Japanese Communist Party member of the Yamanashi Prefectural Assembly Kogoshi Tomoko commented, “The ruling is a victory for public opinion. We will demand the prefectural assembly to abolish the overseas travel system without delay.” The JCP has long opposed the policy of pouring tax money into assemblyperson’s trips abroad, and has consistently called for its abolishment.

The four trips in question were carried out between July 2009 and April 2010, in which a total of 11 legislators affiliated with a conservative group visited various countries including the United States and Egypt.

The Tokyo High Court ruled on September 19, 2013 that the four trips were “private pleasure trips under the guise of study tours”, as the assemblypersons visited only popular tourist spots, such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art in the U.S. and pyramids in Egypt. The court obliges Governor Yokouchi Shomei to call on the 11 lawmakers to return to the prefecture a total of 8.5 million yen they spent for their trips.

Past related articles:
> Assembly with no JCP seat allows assemblypersons to go on travelling sprees [April 29, 2014]
> Assemblypersons’ overseas study tours were ‘pleasure trips’: court rules [October 2, 2013]
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