• Kyodo News

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Most lawmakers have finished moving to new offices in three 12-story buildings, with many Lower House members starting Tuesday to work out of offices with 2 1/2 times more floor space than their old ones.

It is expected to cost the government roughly ¥179 billion to operate and maintain the three buildings over the next 10 years, leaving lawmakers open to criticism they are spending recklessly when most are advocating fiscal rehabilitation.

Upper House members began using their building July 1.

Some of the new offices may go empty if a reduction in Diet members in the name of fiscal restraint is achieved, as many parties advocated during the campaign for the July 11 Upper House election.

Located across the street from the Diet, the three 60-meter-high buildings have floor space of roughly 310,000 sq. meters and five more floors than the older buildings, and also have more tenants, including convenience stores and coffee shops.

Each of the Lower House’s 480 and the Upper House’s 242 members is entitled to a 100-sq.-meter office — 2.5 times the size of their old ones.

Each building has a Tully’s Coffee shop and a convenience store, and the building for the Upper House members also houses a massage center. A child care facility can be used by the children of lawmakers, staff members and people living in the neighborhood.

“I’ll be liberated from having so many piles of documents I can’t move around,” a lawmaker said, echoing many who are happy with the new digs.

But a freshman lawmaker said the office is so large that it can’t be fully used.

The older office buildings will be demolished and parking facilities with a capacity of about 1,100 vehicles will be built in their place.

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