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Shoichi Nakagawa, minister of economy, trade and industry, announced Monday a 20 percent pay cut for two months for his vice minister, Hideji Sugiyama, over a series of public fund misuse scandals involving officials at METI.

The latest move brings to 33 the number of officials reprimanded at the ministry over four scandals, the first of which was uncovered in June. Also Monday, Deputy Vice Minister Takashi Suzuki was slapped with a 10 percent pay cut for two months over the cases.

The four scandals concern the misuse of 24 million yen in public money by a former ministry bureaucrat, fund mismanagement regarding wages for part-time workers in the Americas Division, the purchase of a 2 million yen restaurant membership with money from UNICEF, and an information leak on cable maker OCC Corp.

Nakagawa has imposed punishment on himself by refusing his monthly salary as METI minister for July and August.

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