About 90 million yen in tax money earmarked for House of Representatives members’ administrative research was spent on dining and wining by lawmakers and their staff in fiscal 2002 and 2003, the Lower House secretariat said Thursday.

About half, or some 45 million yen, was spent on the lawmakers’ eating and drinking and the remaining half was used for private meetings of the Lower House speaker and vice speaker as well as for feeding their staff.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Shinzo Abe told a press conference Thursday, “It is something that should not have happened.”

Secretariat chief Yoshihiro Komazaki said he has voluntarily paid back to the state coffers some 940,000 yen of the expenditure, saying that amount, which he endorsed from November 2003 to March 2004, was chiefly intended for meetings by the staff.

About 2.87 billion yen in fiscal 2002 and some 2.68 billion yen in fiscal 2003 were earmarked to finance lawmakers’ activities to research various administrative matters, the secretariat said.

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