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March 9, 2021

Japan minister apologises for bureaucrat’s dinners with executives

World

March 9, 2021

TOKYO: Japan’s internal affairs minister removed a senior bureaucrat from his post and apologised on Monday for what he said could be a breach of the law after an inquiry showed the official attended meals with officials of Nippon Telegraph and Telephone (NTT).

Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga’s administration has faced public criticism after the Shukan Bunshun magazine said internal affairs officials wined and dined with NTT, as well as Suga’s son, an executive at a company that produces television programmes for satellite broadcasters.

Yasuhiko Taniwaki, the vice-minister for policy coordination, was transferred to another section after an investigation by the internal affairs ministry confirmed he had attended the dinners, with NTT president Jun Sawada, among others.“It’s regrettable that something that seriously undermines trust in public affairs has occurred,” said Ryota Takeda, the minister for internal affairs and communications.

Japan’s National Civil Service Ethics Law forbids government employees from receiving gifts or entertainment from individuals or firms that could be seen to curry favour.