Its companies and hotel chain excluded from Japanese government travel subsidy program due to suspected fraud

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A poster of the “Go To Travel” campaign is seen in Tokyo’s Bunkyo district in this archive photo from November 29, 2020 (Mainichi / Kazuhisa Soneda)

TOKYO – Two subsidiaries of travel giant HIS Co. as well as a hotel company will be barred from participating in the government’s “Go To Travel” national tourism subsidy campaign when it resumes due to strong suspicions of defrauding the government. program, Minister of Spatial Planning, Infrastructure and Transport and Tourism Tetsuo Saito at a press conference on December 28.

Saito also said the government would require his companies Miki Tourist Co. and Japan Holiday Travel Co., and Tokyo-based hotel chain operator JHAT Co. to return all illegally obtained grants, and that criminal complaints were pending. examination course.

“This is a taxpayer funded program, and it is absolutely unforgivable to fraudulently take the grants,” Saito told reporters after a cabinet meeting. “It’s really deplorable.”

On the same day, the government issued a stern warning to HIS regarding its lack of corporate governance as a parent company. The authorities apparently asked HIS to formulate a reform policy.

Regarding the illicit subsidy claims, a HIS investigative panel reported on December 24 that Miki Tourist and Japan Holiday Travel, as well as JHAT, had defrauded the Go To Travel program totaling some 683 million yen (approx. $ 5.9 million) in rigged hotel stays. .

The Go To Travel grant campaign was launched in July 2020 to promote domestic tourism as the number of foreign visitors plummeted due to the coronavirus pandemic. He was suspended in December of the same year due to the increase in the number of COVID-19 cases.

(Japanese original by Hajime Nakatsugawa, Department of Economic News)

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