Surprise! The Lower House is corrupt

Exercise of the FOIA process by the Asahi Shimbun reveals a “customary” practice in the Diet’s Lower House of using funds meant for the investigation of corruption for lavish meals at fancy restaurants:

Lower House spent 100 million yen in tax money for food and booze in fiscal 2002 and 2003

The Asahi Shimbun

Lower House members and secretariat employees spent about 100 million yen ($886,839) in taxpayers’ money for food, drinks and parties often at posh establishments in fiscal 2002 and 2003, according to government documents.

Ironically, the money came from a secretive budget that is supposed to be used to investigate wrongdoings of government officials.

The expenses were listed under such categories as “consultation meetings,” according to the documents disclosed to The Asahi Shimbun.

Many of those so-called meetings took place at exorbitant restaurants, nightclubs, bars and hotels in some of the most expensive areas of Tokyo.

The misappropriated funds are used not just for the wrongdoing of government but also to investigate major scandals such as the recent scare over falsified earthquake safety data.

More lurid details of some of the misused funds (massive amounts of liquor consumed, time spent at Chinese hostess bars, etc) can (as usual) be found at ZAKZAK, the most entertaining news resource on Japan available outside the country. I may update this post with translations of some of them but not right now.