Tokyo lists bureaucrats’ wining, dining outlays

Two years after taking on the Tokyo Metropolitan Government, the head of a citizens’ group demanding that Tokyo bureaucrats’ receipts for wining and dining be made public on Mar. 11 received over 100 pages documenting the outlays of its five bureaus.

“I wonder why the government did not do what it should have done in the first place,” said Yuichi Goto, a resident of Tokyo’s Setagaya Ward who won a high court ruling ordering the government to disclose the documents last month. Goto claimed that the documents — covering 33 meetings in which bills for wining and dining totaled 12.65 million yen — include numerous incidents of suspicious spending on meals that may have gone on entertaining central government officials or contributed to “secret budgets.”

For example, one receipt for 356,796 yen is attributed to a meal for 18 officials from the metropolitan government attending a meeting held on Aug. 16, during the summer Bon holidays. Such a meeting being held during the holiday season is almost unthinkable, Goto claimed. “Demanding the disclosure of information is all that a citizen can do. I leave (further investigation into the dining outlays) to the media,” he said.