JAPAN: Supreme Court Overturns Disclosure Ruling

12 November 2003

The Asahi Shimbun (Japan) reports that the Supreme Court has overturned a high court decision ordering the disclosure of the names and titles of private citizens wined and dined by the Osaka municipal government in the late 1980s and early 1990s.

The case involves a June 1992 request by the citizens group Mihariban for records of the city’s food-related expenditures between July 1988 and March 1992-including meals provided to attendees of meetings and conferences held by the city government.

The Supreme Court ruled that the names of private citizens in nongovernmental positions should not be disclosed.

However, the top court did send the case back to the Osaka High Court on one point, arguing that civil servants and organization representatives do not enjoy similar protection.

The group was looking for information in connection with a scandal involving city employees who falsified expense records by reporting fictitious reasons for expenditures and inventing dining partners to expropriate public money.

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