A committee investigating the faulty statistics survey of Japan's labor ministry is focused on whether there was systematic involvement in misconduct or cover-ups.
The labor ministry was supposed to cover all large businesses in Tokyo for its monthly statistics report on wages and hours, but was found to have been surveying only a fraction of them.
A special panel of outside lawyers and statistics experts met behind closed doors on Tuesday and made adjustments to finalize a report.
They examined a manual used at the section in charge of the survey in 2004. It said accuracy can be ensured even if the survey does not cover all businesses.
Panel members say this phrase was deleted from the manual in 2015, but the substandard practice continued, indicating that officials recognized the wrongdoing and were trying to conceal their actions.
The panel has already finished questioning relevant officials.
The ministry plans to impose punishments based on the results of the panel's probe.