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West Japan prefectural assembly switches member badges from gold to silver to cut costs

The new badge of the members of the Shiga Prefectural Assembly, which was changed to silver with a thin gold film due to the rising price of gold, is pictured on Jan. 31, 2023. (Mainichi/Manabu Niwata)

OTSU -- The Shiga Prefectural Assembly has changed the badges issued to its members from 18-karat gold to silver with a thin film of gold pasted on it because of the rising price of gold following Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

    The estimated cost of the 18k gold badges was about 50,000 yen ($380) each, but the new badges cost approximately 6,400 yen ($50) each, resulting in savings of roughly 2 million yen ($15,000).

    According to the assembly's secretariat, badges are issued to all 44 members at the start of each new term of office. They are procured before the election through a bidding process. While the current ones for the term starting in 2019 cost about 25,000 yen ($190) each, the ones for the next term starting this April were expected to cost double that amount. Some even estimated that the price would be nearly 60,000 yen ($450) per piece. Therefore, assembly chairman Hiroaki Iwasa ordered a review of the badges, which was approved by all factions.

    Meanwhile, the Kyoto Municipal Assembly has also changed its assembly member badges from 22-karat gold to gold-plated in order to save costs.

    (Japanese original by Manabu Niwata, Otsu Bureau)

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