Board: ¥58 Bil. in Tax Money Wasted in FY22

TOKYO (Jiji Press) — The government wasted ¥58.02 billion in taxpayer money on 344 projects in fiscal 2022, which ended in March this year, the Board of Audit said in a report Tuesday.

Both the amount and the number of cases were higher than the previous year, partly because the board was able to conduct more on-site inspections as the COVID-19 crisis receded.

The wasteful spending cases included 285 “malicious” cases, including law violations, that involved ¥9.76 billion.

Wasteful spending related to the pandemic totaled some ¥22.02 billion in 93 cases, including one in which face masks purchased by a local government to prevent the spread of the coronavirus were stored unused.

In another pandemic-related case, an excessive subsidy was provided for the introduction of medical equipment.

The largest amount of taxpayer money wasted in a single case was some ¥13.45 billion in a project by the Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Ministry in which screenings were conducted improperly over a subsidy for rice farmers who switched to growing other crops, such as wheat and soybeans.

The largest wasteful spender among government bodies was the same ministry, at ¥19.7 billion, followed by the Internal Affairs and Communications Ministry, at ¥15.08 billion, and the Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry, at ¥6.06 billion.

The report also pointed to a malicious case involving ¥19.14 million in which the agriculture ministry created improper contracts over the procurement of domestically produced pork served at the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Village in 2021.