Dozens of Maritime Self-Defense Force divers are suspected of fraudulently receiving allowances, Defense Ministry sources said Tuesday.

They have been making false claims for the diving allowances for many years, and the total amount they have fraudulently received may reach tens of millions of yen, according to the sources.

The ministry plans to have the divers return the allowances and then take disciplinary measures against them.

The divers involved belonged to submarine rescue vessels and received the allowances of up to about ¥10,000 per hour, depending on the danger of their missions.

In September 2022, the MSDF's internal investigation found cases such as those in which divers applied for the allowances even though they did not engage in diving operations and in which they overstated their working hours.

Suspecting that such practices were widespread, the MSDF has set up a committee to investigate all units with divers.

"We are investigating into the matter, and will take strict action based on confirmed facts," Defense Minister Minoru Kihara told a news conference Tuesday.

The MSDF has been hit by a series of scandals recently, including the mishandling of designated security secrets and alleged corruption involving submarine crews, with MSDF Chief of Staff Adm. Ryo Sakai reportedly planning to resign to take responsibility.