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2007 February 14 - 20 [SOCIAL ISSUES]

JCP in Fukuoka City Assembly calls for abolition of publicly funded assembly members’ overseas trips

February 10, 2007
In the Fukuoka City Assembly, members of the Liberal Democratic, Komei, Democratic, Social Democratic, and other local parties have spent tax money of 40 million yen for overseas trips during their current tenure in the past four years.

The Japanese Communist Party Fukuoka City Assembly members’ group revealed this at a press conference on February 9.

The city assembly allows each member one million yen for overseas “inspection tours.” The JCP has never taken part in publicly-funded overseas trips and calls for the system to be abolished.

It is suspected that in many cases these overseas trips were made primarily for sightseeing purposes. Some assembly members went to New Zealand and visited tourist spots such as fiords and world heritage sites.

Their reports on “inspection tours” submitted to the assembly are poor. A report on a tour to inspect the educational situation in Vietnam stated, “Since inspections in a socialist country are not useful, our fact-findings are based on talks with a Japanese-Vietnamese interpreter.”

Worse still, 80 percent of a Komei Party members’ report was simply made up of copies of information from websites, including travel agencies’ pages and free encyclopedias.

Miyamoto Hidekuni, chair of the six-member JCP group in the assembly, stated, “At a time when Fukuoka City residents are suffering from heavier tax burdens, cuts in social welfare services, and increases in poverty, city assembly members must refrain from abusing their privileges. It is time to give up overseas inspection tours.”
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