• Kyodo

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An Air Self-Defense Force unit in Hokkaido is suspected of padding expenses for training personnel to work aboard government planes in fiscal 2001 and 2002, sources said Thursday.

A former senior officer who served on a special team tasked with managing and operating the two government planes is believed to have been involved in making improper transactions related to the suspected padding, the sources said.

An ASDF police unit is investigating the case.

According to the sources, the special team at Chitose air base paid nearly 7 million yen to a hotel in Tomakomai, Hokkaido, for in-flight meals between April 2001 and November 2002, although the real cost was about 4 million yen.

The in-flight meals were ordered while training flight attendants for government planes, the sources said.

The hotel used the extra 3 million yen to order bed linens used on government planes and other items from a company in Tokyo in January 2002 and 2003, the sources said.

It is believed the items were shipped to the ASDF unit.

The sources said the officer is suspected of providing instructions in connection with the deals, including those dealing with item selection.

The government operates two Boeing 747-400 jets mainly used by the prime minister and members of the Imperial family for overseas visits.

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