• Kyodo

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Investigation-related spending declined in fiscal 2004 in all prefectural police forces following a rash of news reports on police misuse of funds stretching back several years, according to a recent Kyodo News survey.

The total amount of such spending stood at 4.1 billion yen in the year that ended last March, down 2 billion yen from the previous fiscal year.

The national association of citizen ombudsman groups said the sharp decline is proof that the money — which comes from both national and prefectural coffers basically for the purpose of paying informants — had not been spent appropriately in the past.

Police for their part explained that in the aftermath of all the negative publicity about the money, officers became wary about using it, and they claimed that in some cases informants refused to accept.

The sharpest spending cut, 66.7 percent, was reported by the Tokushima Prefectural Police. Spending was at least halved in five other prefectures, and the national average fell 33 percent in year-on-year terms.

Numerous cases of misuse of investigative funds surfaced in police departments across the country, including those of Hokkaido, Kyoto and Fukuoka.

The spending had been down by about 20 percent annually since fiscal 2001, when police began initiating reforms after the first case of inappropriate spending surfaced.

Compared with the amount in fiscal 2001, the spending was down 8 billion yen, or 66 percent, in fiscal 2004.

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