OSAKA — The total number of tax-dodging cases as well as the amount per case hit a 10-year low in 1997, according to an Osaka National Tax Administration Bureau report published Thursday.

The bureau conducted probes in four prefectures in the Kinki region in 1997. The report attributed the drop in tax dodging to decreases in large asset trading and the number of inheritance cases because of the protracted economic slump.

The bureau investigated 46 cases in 1997, up one from 45 in 1996. As a result, it imposed taxes in 46 cases in the year as compared with 48. Both figures include cases carried over from previous years.

The amount totaled 7.49 billion yen, down from 10.91 billion yen, a 31 percent drop. The tax bureau sought legal action against people involved in 37 cases it considered criminal, amounting to 7.14 billion yen, compared to 36 before.

These cases represented 80.4 percent of the probes conducted last year, an increase from 75 percent in 1996. It is the second-highest rate in 10 years, following 87 percent in 1993, according to the report.

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