• Kyodo

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Miyagi Prefectural Police spent some 6 million yen of their state-provided investigation funds on parties in summer 2002, according to documents obtained by a citizens’ ombudsman.

The police blew the cash on parties to congratulate themselves on the security services they provided for the 2002 FIFA World Cup soccer finals.

The parties, held in hotels and pubs in July and August last year, involved about 2,000 police officers, the Sendai Shimin Ombudsman said Thursday.

The Miyagi Prefectural Government does not permit its police force to use prefectural funds for such purposes.

But the police maintain they have done nothing wrong. Such spending is permitted by the National Police Agency and is common practice in other prefectural forces, they claimed.

The ombudsman said public funds should not be spent on parties, adding it will call for a probe by the national government’s Board of Audit. The probe will be conducted with the cooperation of ombudsmen at other locations where World Cup matches were held, the ombudsman said.

The prefectural police manual, based on NPA guidelines, says officers can use state funds to cover “simple expenses” such as snacks and cans of beer to recognize officers’ service in crucial cases.

But the officers’ spending “cannot be called ‘simple’ because there are some who wined and dined at a cost of more than 3,000 yen each,” the Sendai ombudsman said.

Miyagi hosted three World Cup games and the Italian team stayed there. The prefectural police mobilized some 3,700 officers to provide security for the events, including officers on loan from other prefectures.

A total of about 1,980 officials from the Miyagi police headquarters and smaller units within the prefecture participated in the state-funded parties.

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