Japan Keeps Budget for Lawmaker Trips Abroad despite Pandemic
Tokyo, Dec. 30 (Jiji Press)--Japan’s fiscal 2022 draft budget includes 562 million yen in expenses for fact-finding overseas trips by lawmakers, almost unchanged from usual years, although almost all such travel has been canceled amid the novel coronavirus pandemic.
With many international exchanges held online, lawmaker junkets are viewed critically as wasteful spending of taxpayers’ money due to lack of clear achievements.
In parliament, however, few members are clamoring for a drastic review of the program.
Overseas fact-finding trips by lawmakers are intended mainly for viewing advanced projects at firsthand and exchanges with local dignitaries.
In the House of Representatives, the lower chamber of parliament, the directors of each committee from ruling and opposition parties go abroad in a group. Some believe that such trips have the benefit of nurturing stronger ties between ruling and opposition party lawmakers who travel together.
[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]