Mayor of nuclear reactor city used taxpayers’ money on gifts for nuclear disaster minister(The Mainichi Daily News)
TSURUGA, Fukui — The mayor of this city, home to three nuclear reactors, gave year-end gifts to nuclear disaster minister Goshi Hosono and other legislators using taxpayers’ money, it has been learned.
Tsuruga Mayor Kazuharu Kawase, 60, used his mayor’s entertainment expenses to purchase and give assortments of Echizen snow crab worth 10,000 yen each to 11 Diet members of both the ruling and opposition parties as year-end gifts between November and December last year. Echizen crabs are a local specialty of Fukui Prefecture.
Kawase is known to have repeatedly advocated the necessity of the prototype fast-breeder reactor Monju in the city and of building additional nuclear power plants. He also chairs the All Japan Council of Local Governments with Atomic Power Stations.
According to the bill of the mayor’s entertainment expenses, Mayor Kawase purchased a total of 180,000 yen worth of Echizen crab assortments as gift items for 18 people, including 11 Diet members.
Aside from Hosono, the recipients of the gifts included then Science Minister Masaharu Nakagawa, who was in charge of the Monju reactor at the time; Seiji Maehara, policy chief of the ruling Democratic Party of Japan; and Sadakazu Tanigaki, president of the largest opposition Liberal Democratic Party.
Mayor Kawase reportedly handed the crab assortments to the lawmakers when he visited them at the Diet Members’ Office Building and other facilities while he was on an official trip to Tokyo for meetings and to lodge petitions.
According to the bills of the mayor’s entertainment expenses over the past five years, Kawase has sent Echizen crabs to several Diet members and the mayor of Mito — a sister city of Tsuruga — almost every year since fiscal 2007.
Filed under: 8.Eathquake & Nuclear accident