• Kyodo

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Yokohama Mayor Hiroshi Nakada announced Tuesday his plan to make public all his official expenditures, making him the first mayor of one of Japan’s 12 specially designated major cities to do so.

Beginning Monday, expense account data, including the identities of people who receive so-called sympathy payments and those entertained by the mayor, will be available to the public, Nakada said. This data has traditionally been hidden.

The 37-year-old Nakada, championing reform efforts, beat incumbent Hidenobu Takahide in the March 31 mayoral election, becoming the youngest-ever mayor among a group of 12 specially designated major cities outside Tokyo — most of which have a population of 1 million or more.

Nakada said he hopes the social expenditures of municipal officials holding the positions of bureau chief or higher will also be fully disclosed in the future.

After reviewing the current social expense account, Nakada said he decided to halt payments of condolence money at funerals, opting to send only wreaths.

“I want to strive to run an administration with transparency,” he said.

The Yokohama city government’s fiscal 2002 budget has set aside about 4 million yen to cover the mayor’s official expenditures.

The full disclosure of social spending was one of Nakada’s campaign pledges.

Nakada, a former independent member of the House of Representatives from a local constituency, won support from nonaligned voters who were apparently concerned the 72-year-old Takahide had been in office too long. Takahide served three four-year terms at the helm of Japan’s second most populous city, with about 3.49 million people.

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