Kaohsiung Takes Heat for Japan Tobacco Ties

China Post, August 13, 2015 | Go to article overview

Kaohsiung Takes Heat for Japan Tobacco Ties


(ProQuest: [...] denotes non-USASCII text omitted)

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- The Kaohsiung City Government has been accused of having illicit interactions with Japan Tobacco Inc. (JTI, [...]), whereby city officials funded trips to JTI facilities using tax dollars from tobacco surcharges, the John Tung Foundation said yesterday.

The John Tung Foundation demanded that Greater Kaohsiung Mayor Chen Chu ([...]) investigate and rectify the situation. "Tobacco companies should not have a hand in influencing government policies," the foundation stated. "We want an apology and explanation from Chen."

Kaohsiung Information Bureau Director-General Ting Yun-kung ([...]) said, paraphrasing Chen's words, that there are many misunderstandings that need to be smoothed out about the overseas government trips, which were arranged by the Kaohsiung Finance Bureau. All itineraries and budgets for future overseas government trips will be re-examined and adjusted accordingly, Ting proposed.

According to the foundation, annual trips made by Kaohsiung government officials since 2008 were carried out under the name of "investigating private and dodgy tobacco." The officials were also accompanied by high-ranking JTI executives to each tobacco factory.

At least NT$2 million from bonuses have been injected annually to fund the trips to JTI factories world-wide, the foundation alleged.

Investigations will be carried out, said the Health Promotion Administration (HPA, [...]), under the reasoning that such ties between the government and a tobacco company leave a "bad impression."

Director-General of the HPA Chiou Shu-ti ([...]) pointed out that any "government officials visiting a tobacco factory," regardless of the funding origins, "are unsuitable and inadvisable. …

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