• Kyodo

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The Kochi Prefectural Government will keep records of requests and complaints made by politicians as well as the general public and make them subject to information disclosure, as a way to enhance administrative transparency and to forestall unreasonable demands, Kochi officials said Tuesday.

Similar action has been taken by the Tottori Prefectural Government, which has been documenting requests from politicians regarding public works and other activities funded by the prefecture.

The Kochi officials say theirs is the first prefectural government to subject people other than politicians to the measure. Kochi plans to introduce the measure by the end of this fiscal year, they said.

The move comes against the backdrop of an illicit loan scandal that led to the indictment of a former vice governor and others on breach of trust charges. The vice governor received a suspended sentence earlier this year.

The prefecture plans to document requests and demands made by politicians, organizations and individual citizens, both reasonable and unreasonable, as judged by Kochi officials.

When any request is made, a prefectural official will be required to record the name and affiliation of the person, as well as the nature of the request, in a designated document that will be open to all government staff.

Data, including specifics such as names, may be made public if a request for information disclosure is filed, according to the officials.

Some departments in the prefectural government have been documenting and archiving such requests, but the new policy will be enforced throughout the government, according to the officials.

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