The National Tax Agency likely discarded former agency chief Nobuhisa Sagawa's daily schedules after only a day, it has been learned.
The finding came after nonprofit organization Access-Info Clearinghouse Japan filed for a freedom-of-information request. The group's chairperson Yukiko Miki criticized the tax agency's action, pointing out that as the top official's schedule is a document that reveals the organization's activity, "it's problematic to immediately discard it. In the United States, senior government officials' schedules are kept for a long time."
On Jan. 17 this year, Miki requested disclosure of Sagawa's daily schedules for his entire time atop the tax agency in July 2017. He had served as head of the Finance Ministry's Financial Bureau prior to his stint at the tax agency when the heavily discounted sale of state-owned land to school operator Moritomo Gakuen surfaced.
The agency disclosed Sagawa's "plan on Jan. 17" in a document dated March 19, but schedules from before that date were not revealed. The disclosed document was compiled on Jan. 16, and Sagawa's schedule for Jan. 17 included business with the International Operations Division at 10 a.m., with the public relations office at 1 p.m. or later, and with the Account Division at 2 p.m.
The agency's public relations office explained that the daily schedule is "a document that fulfills its purpose when the day's tasks are completed, and the storage period is set at one day."
Under the government's official document management guidelines, which were revised in December last year, daily schedules can be discarded in less than a year.