Reinvestigation into Survey Misconduct to End in Mid-Feb.

Politics Economy

Tokyo, Jan. 31 (Jiji Press)--A special panel is expected to finish its reinvestigation into survey irregularities by Japan's labor ministry and draw up a report as early as mid-February, it was learned Thursday.

In the second round of the probe, the third-party investigation committee expanded the scope of hearings to cover local governments to check whether there was organizational involvement in or a cover-up of the misconduct, informed sources said.

The expert panel released its initial investigation report on Jan. 22. But it was driven to relaunch investigation by opposition parties' strong criticism against the way it carried out the initial probe, which came after the revelation that most of the committee's hearings with incumbent and former ministry officials were conducted by ministry staff themselves.

Even in the reinvestigation, it has been confirmed that some ministry officials, including the human resources division head, attended hearings. The panel said they were necessary recordkeeping manpower, stressing that their presence never influenced remarks by hearing subjects.

For the relaunched probe, 40 former and incumbent ministry workers as well as officials from four prefectural governments, including Tokyo, have been interviewed. In the prefectures, ministry officials in charge of labor statistics collected data in sloppy ways.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press