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Hyogo assembly to scrutinize political spending

Japan

A regional assembly in western Japan will introduce tighter rules on the use of public funds after one of its former members apparently misused taxpayers' money.

Ryutaro Nonomura resigned from the Hyogo prefectural assembly in July after coming under fire for his dubious spending of funds allocated for political activities. He attracted international attention by weeping and wailing at a news conference.

The assembly approved an ordinance on Monday that cuts the monthly outlay for political activities by 10 percent -- to a little over 4,100 dollars.

The ordinance will also allow the assembly's chair to investigate members' political spending reports and order corrections if irregularities are found.

It also designates a third-party body to make sure members are using public funds appropriately. The ordinance will go into effect on October 1st.

Some other members of the Hyogo Prefectural assembly have also been found to be misusing political activity funds.

The assembly is considering requiring its members to submit receipts for all expenditures and to publish their political fund reports online.

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