The National Personnel Authority has released a report documenting gifts, rewards and entertainment expenses worth 5,000 yen or more that were reported by senior government officials in fiscal 2000, more than half of which were reported by Foreign Ministry officials.
According to the authority’s National Public Service Ethics Board, 658 government officials voluntarily reported receiving 2,625 such rewards.
Of the total, 1,531 were cases in which officials received an honorarium for writing articles or delivering lectures, followed by 927 cases of being entertained with food and drink, and 167 cases of receiving gifts, according to the report, which was released Wednesday.
By ministry, the Foreign Ministry accounted for 467 cases in which government officials were entertained with meals and drinks.
In contrast, Finance Ministry officials reported being wined and dined just 10 times. Finance Ministry employees used to be lavishly entertained by financial institutions, which provoked strong public criticism when it was revealed and ultimately led to the establishment of the public servant ethics law.
When the entertainment consisted of wining and dining, about 80 percent of cases reported were worth less than 10,000 yen, while most of those exceeding 20,000 yen were invitation parties.
There were 109 cases of officials being wined and dined by people in positions to exert influence, but the report concludes that no ethical problems arose in those situations.
In cases of financial rewards, four cases involved sums of more than 1 million yen, all of which were royalties paid to authors.
Regarding gifts, there were six occasions on which officials received 500,000 yen or more in cash, but all were in the form of money given as prizes for awards.
The highest amount of prize money reported was 2.12 million yen given by a newspaper company to the head of a state-run university hospital as a cultural award.
In terms of the number of cases, the Justice Ministry accounted for the largest of all the ministries, reporting 693 cases, as officials were frequently asked to write articles, the report says.
In a time of both misinformation and too much information, quality journalism is more crucial than ever.
By subscribing, you can help us get the story right.