Osaka prefecture and city have issued strict new guidelines forbidding, in principle, short-term meetings between their staff and operators.
The guidelines are in response to the ongoing bribery scandal involving Chinese online company 500.com, which is alleged to have offered bribes to some Japanese lawmakers in pursuit of a license to co-develop an integrated resort in either Hokkaido or Okinawa.
Osaka has been one of the most active in condemning the actions of politicians caught up in the scandal, with mayor Ichiro Matsui stating earlier this month,“In the comings and goings of politicians, you need to take responsibility for your own actions. Receiving donations and putting it into your pocket instead of declaring it is a violation of the law.”
The new guideline stipulates that when staff and operators are exchanging opinions, these should be posted in advance on their website with the date and purpose of the meeting made public to ensure fairness. However, greetings and short meetings do not require this.
Meanwhile, Osaka Governor Hirofumi has noted this week in relation to the re-arrest of Representative Tsukasa Akimoto on charges of bribery on Tuesday that, “This is not a problem with IRs, but a problem with the representatives. This scandal and crime has absolutely nothing to do with Osaka’s ongoing IR project.”