• Kyodo

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Two chief justices of the Supreme Court improperly used expense funds to purchase beer coupons and to wine and dine journalists, the head of a citizens’ group in Nara Prefecture said Friday.

Kenji Kawata said a document disclosed by the court at his request showed that the chief justices had bought beer coupons with the funds on at least nine occasions between 1996 and 1999.

They are former Chief Justice Toru Miyoshi and current Chief Justice Shigeru Yamaguchi, Kawata said.

The judges each claimed some 14,000 yen in expenses every time they went on a business trip, he said.

Kawata had requested that the court disclose information on such expenditures between fiscal 1996 and 2000 and the court complied with the request.

The public relations division of the Supreme Court said the coupons were given by the judges as a token of gratitude to people outside the court who had assisted them when they were on their business trips, and were not used as gifts to local court officials.

The action is within the limits of social protocol, the public relations office said.

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