Japanese bureaucrat transferred over wine-and-dine scam

Tokyo: A senior Japanese bureaucrat has been transferred from his position after the Communications Ministry confirmed that he had been wined and dined by telecom giant NTT, according to informed sources.

Yasuhiko Taniwaki, who previously served as Vice-Minister for Policy Coordination at the Ministry, was found to have accepted lavish meals on three occasions between September 2018 and July 2020 to the tune of 107,000 yen ($985), Xinhua news agency quoted the sources as saying on Monday.

Central government officials under Japan’s National Public Service Ethics Law are prohibited from receiving personal favours from official associates or stakeholders.

Under the law, meals paid for by official associates or stakeholders and costing upwards of 10,000 yen must be declared by central government officials beforehand.

It was found that Taniwaki, who was ousted from his position and transferred to the Minister’s Secretariat, paid only 5,000 yen in total for the lavish meals.

The Ministry, following a probe, also found that Eiji Makiguchi, head of its Global Strategy Bureau, had a meal worth 51,000 yen in June 2020, paid for predominantly by NTT, which is regulated by the Communications Ministry.

Other attendees at the dinner held at a private members club in Tokyo included NTT President Jun Sawada and Makiko Yamada, a former high-ranking bureaucrat at the Ministry in charge of international affairs.

She recently served as Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga’s press officer until she resigned recently after the wine-and-dine scandal came to light.

Along with a number of other senior bureaucrats, Taniwaki has already been reprimanded by the Ministry for accepting expensive dinners from executives, including the Prime Minister’s eldest son.

The scandal was first reported by a weekly magazine and came on the heels a previous breach of the ethics law and involving Taniwaki, who had played an instrumental role in helping Suga achieve his goal of lowering mobile phone tariffs.

“It is extremely regrettable that acts that are suspected to be violations have been confirmed again,” Ryota Takeda, Internal Affairs and Communications Minister, told a press briefing on Monday.

Disclaimer: This story is auto-generated from IANS service.

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