Communications ministry penalizes 32 bureaucrats

Japan's communications ministry has disciplined 32 senior bureaucrats who were wined and dined by interested parties.

The ministry announced the results of an internal probe that covered about 170 senior officials who were in charge of the ministry's communications or broadcasting divisions.

Thirty-two of them were found to have been entertained by telecom giant NTT or the satellite broadcaster Tohokushinsha Film Corporation in a total of 78 cases.

The bureaucrats' conduct violated the ethics code for public servants.

Based on the findings the ministry has disciplined nine officials, five of them with pay cuts, and reprimanded 23 others including Vice Minister Kuroda Buichiro.

Internal Affairs and Communications Minister Takeda Ryota says he will voluntarily return his ministerial pay for three months.