• Kyodo

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A 64-year-old member of the Gifu Municipal Assembly admitted Thursday to using political funds in an inappropriate manner, including visiting a high-class tempura restaurant in Tokyo’s Ginza district.

Shinichi Maruyama said he has returned some ¥190,000 in connection with eight “inspection trips” over nine months that he reported as outlays for political activities without attaching receipts. But he ruled out resigning.

According to his political funds report, Maruyama visited Ginza and Tsukiji in Tokyo in June 2015, and “inspected” restaurants in Ginza from the outside “to examine the balance between their taste and pricing and the degree of attention” as part of his activities to boost the city of Gifu’s focus on food.

Maruyama explained that he actually ate in the tempura restaurant in Ginza, and that he goes there often in a private capacity. But he said he did not include the costs of the meal as political expenses.

“This is a complete mix of private and public matters,” said Tomomasa Teramachi, head of a citizens’ group in Gifu. “If he has no sense of ethics, we citizens should raise our voices to make him resign.”

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