National / Crime & Legal

Japanese police departments reprimand over 20 officers for paid work on police exam study guides

Kyodo

The National Police Agency and some prefectural police departments said Friday they have reprimanded more than 20 officers for accepting paid work with a publisher of study materials for police exams in violation of laws that in principle prohibit public servants from taking second jobs.

The NPA and relevant prefectural police departments announced the disciplinary action against at least 21 officers in 12 prefectures suspected of violating national and local regulations as well as the national code of ethics for public servants.

The officers drafted questions and answers that appeared in study workbooks for police promotion exams. They worked at the request of a publisher and received compensation for their efforts.

According to media reports in January, Edu-com Inc. paid a total of more than ¥100 million to 467 police officers working for the NPA and 17 prefectural police departments since 2010 in exchange for their contributions to the workbooks.

After hearing from the officers in question, the police agency and prefectural police departments confirmed that the officers should be punished.

Three high-ranking officials who faced the heaviest punishment for receiving between ¥1.2 million and ¥8.8 million each as payment for their work since 2010, have already resigned, they said.

According to police sources, Tetsuharu Noda, 58, an assistant commissioner with the Osaka Prefectural Police and one of the high-ranking officials, had received payments 100 times, totaling around ¥20 million, between January 2010 and August 2018, including a sum of ¥8.8 million that was subject to punishment.

Noda reportedly used the money to pay for a housing loan and investments.

The sources said Noda initially told the prefectural police that a member of his family received a request to draft questions and answers and assigned the work to acquaintances, but later admitted that he himself made the contributions.

Investigative sources said Koetsu Saiki, 56, an assistant commissioner of the Miyagi Prefectural Police, had received a total of ¥7.5 million between October 2012 and November 2018.

“I had a feeling of guilt every time I received payments, but that feeling gradually disappeared as drafting became a regular practice,” Saiki reportedly told investigators.

Public servants are prohibited in principle from moonlighting and are required to report cash or gifts worth over ¥5,000 received in connection with their duties.

The Tokyo-based publisher, launched in 2009, sells a variety of study materials for police and other security officers preparing to take exams for promotions.