Around 200 billion yen of public money earmarked to help people hit by Japan’s 2011 quake and tsunami has been spent in areas unaffected by the natural disaster, the government admitted Monday.
Projects ranging from counting sea turtles on semi-tropical beaches, to the promotion of cheese and wine events hundreds of kilometers from the disaster zone benefited from the largesse, a report said.
While there is no suggestion of corruption, the admissions are an embarrassment for the Japanese government, which has previously acknowledged the country’s controversial whaling program was being supported by disaster money.
The Asahi Shimbun, a major daily newspaper, surveyed local authorities around the country to find out what happened to the 200 billion yen Tokyo set aside in 2011 for job creation after the disaster.
It said 108.5 billion yen was spent in 38 prefectures that were outside the stricken northeast, where 97% of people employed with the help of the money were not evacuees from the disaster zone.
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