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2014年7月13日 (日)

県議政務活動費 泣かずに説明責任を果たせ

まるで駄々っ子!
あきれました。
日本の恥さらしだと思います。
(スラチャイ)

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Bawling Hyogo assemblyman should come clean on expenses
県議政務活動費 泣かずに説明責任を果たせ

Funds for local assembly members’ political activities come from tax money, so any improper use of this money on expenses is unpardonable. Local assemblies must thoroughly improve the transparency of their members’ expenditures, and ensure this money is being spent appropriately.
 議員の政務活動費が税金で賄われる以上、不正な支出は許されない。地方議会は、支出の適正性の確保と透明性の向上を徹底すべきだ。

A recent case in which a Hyogo Prefectural Assembly member allegedly used political funds for dubious purposes has caused quite a stir.
 兵庫県議の不明朗な政務活動費が問題となっている。

According to an income and expenditure report submitted to the assembly, the assemblyman in question claimed he made 345 day trips to locations including Tokyo and hot spring resorts in Hyogo Prefecture from fiscal 2011 to fiscal 2013, spending about ¥8 million of political funds on transportation for these trips.
 当該県議が議会に提出した収支報告書によると、2011~13年度に兵庫県の温泉や東京などを345回も日帰りで訪問したとして、交通費名目で約800万円の政務活動費を使っていた。

However, the report contained absolutely no mention of the names of people he visited, or the purpose of these trips. He did not attach any receipts. One trip was reportedly on a day when most of the limited express trains to the destination he claimed to have visited were canceled due to heavy rain.
 だが、報告書には、訪問相手の名前や目的が一切記載されず、領収書も添付されていなかった。訪問日には、大雨で大半の特急列車が運休になった日も含まれる。

Was this assemblyman really conducting political activities? The suspicion swirling around him will not go away.
 本当に政務活動を行っていたのか。疑問はぬぐえない。

At a press conference on July 1, the assembly member sobbed and wailed loudly as he tried to explain his side of the story. He refrained from naming the locations he had supposedly visited or providing other details. It is utterly inconceivable that such a performance will earn the support of residents of the prefecture. The Hyogo Prefectural Assembly has been inundated with complaints.
 県議は1日の記者会見で号泣しながら釈明したが、具体的な訪問先などの公表は拒んだ。県民の理解は到底、得られない。県議会には抗議が殺到している。

It has also been revealed that the assemblyman received a considerable sum of money that he said was used for postage stamps in fiscal 2013.
 県議については13年度、切手代として多額の政務活動費を受け取っていたことも発覚している。

The assembly chairman has quite rightly demanded the assemblyman return any funds confirmed to have been misused, and quickly resign if he cannot fulfill his responsibility to explain what actually happened.
 兵庫県議会議長が、不正が確認された政務活動費の返還と、説明責任が果たせない場合の速やかな辞職を求めたのは当然である。

Assembly also at fault

The assemblyman is reportedly considering quitting, but if he is indeed confirmed to have illegally spent political funds, it could constitute fraud. His resignation would not be sufficient to bring an end to this matter.
 当の県議は辞職を検討しているというが、不正な支出が確認されれば、詐欺に当たる可能性もある。辞職だけでは済まされない。

In addition to their regular pay, local assembly members are provided with funds to meet political expenses for research, study and other activities.
 地方議員には、報酬とは別に、調査研究活動などのために政務活動費が支給されている。

In the past, this money was called “policy research expenses.” However, a revision to the Local Autonomy Law in 2012 changed the name, and it became possible for assembly members to seek such funds for expenses incurred in activities such as petitions and lobbying. Even tighter monitoring of this expenditure is required.
 かつては政務調査費と呼ばれたが、12年の改正地方自治法で名称が変わり、陳情など議員活動への支出も認められるようになった。従来以上に、支出の厳格な監視が求められている。

The lax response of the Hyogo Prefectural Assembly to this case cannot be simply shrugged off.
 看過できないのは、兵庫県議会の対応の甘さだ。

Assembly members are obligated, in principle, to attach receipts to their income and expenditure reports. However, the assembly approved expenditures based solely on a “certificate” produced by its members. The assemblyman in question did not attach any receipts for three years, yet the response of the assembly’s secretariat was merely to bring the matter to his attention.
 収支報告書に原則、領収書の添付を義務づけていたが、本人作成の「証明書」だけでも支出を認めていた。問題の県議が3年間、領収書を添付しなかったのに、事務局が注意喚起しただけだった。

The prefectural assembly reportedly plans to review its procedures regarding political fund expenditures, but this step is long overdue.
 県議会は、政務活動費に関する運用手順を見直すというが、遅きに失した措置である。

It is indeed true that political activities require a significant amount of money, so expenditures for genuine activities by lawmakers and assembly members should be approved. These representatives of the public must keep firmly in mind that they are using public funds, and ensure that this money is spent effectively.
 政治活動に多額の資金を要するのは事実で、正当な議員活動への支出は認めるべきだ。議員は、公金であることを肝に銘じ、有効に活用せねばならない。

Local assemblies will need to craft rules that allow no wrongdoing by their members. Having a third-party body monitor how such money is being spent would probably be effective in this regard. We urge local assemblies to increase the transparency of their members’ activities through such steps as displaying income and expenditure reports on their websites.
 地方議会は、議員の不正を許さないルール作りに取り組まねばならない。第三者機関による使途の監視も有効だろう。ホームページでの収支報告書の公開など、透明性向上にも力を入れてほしい。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, July 9, 2014)

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