The Bank of Japan punished 98 officials April 10, including two executive directors, for their connections to the bribery scandal hanging over the central bank as well as other questionable conduct involving financial institutions.

In addition, Gov. Masaru Hayami and six other senior executives voluntarily surrendered 20 percent of their monthly salaries to show the central bank’s determination to start anew, it said.

The concluding announcement caps three months of embarrassing revelations about the central bank, and also indicated that accepting free dinners has been common among BOJ officials for many years.

The most severe penalties were imposed on executive directors Tadayo Honma and Eiichiro Kinoshita, who is now the general manager of Osaka branch, and three other senior officials. Their salaries will be cut by 20 percent over up to five months. The five were reprimanded for their failure to supervise Yasuyuki Yoshizawa, the former chief manager of the Capital Markets Division of the Credit and Market Management Department who has been charged with bribery.

The questionable conduct of the five senior officials, such as accepting entertainment from banks, was another factor in deciding their respective penalties, the bank said. The period of pay reduction thus varies among them. Of the five, Eiji Hirano, a former chief manager of the Bank Relations Division, was given the longest punishment period — five months — partly because he was Yoshizawa’s immediate supervisor for two years, said Takayuki Kamoshida, an executive director. Hirano was removed April 10 from his secretariat position on the policy board, where he dealt with the Diet, to the Research and Statistics Department. The transfer was not punitive, but carried out to avoid potential inconveniences in relations with politicians, Kamoshida said.

Of the remaining 93 officials in question, 36 were reprimanded, 39 warned and 18 less severely warned, based on the internal investigation, which again cited improper conduct. “We think these penalties are very severe, considering the entire circumstances,” Senior Deputy Gov. Yutaka Yamaguchi said in a news conference. Yamaguchi was making reference to the resignations last month of Gov. Yasuo Matsushita and Senior Deputy Gov. Toshihiko Fukui.

According to the bank, some officials who confessed they had leaked classified information to financial institutions with approval by Yoshizawa were included in the remaining 93. The BOJ is withholding details about these officials to avoid disrupting Yoshizawa’s case, according to Takayuki Kamoshida, another executive director. The BOJ also said there were cases in which managers at the Bank Supervision Department were treated by banks.

Most of the 600 senior officials subjected to the internal investigation have admitted they received free entertainment from banks in the past five years in the form of wining and dining, golf outings, sports events or theater tickets, the bank said.

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