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Social media has exploded in indignation over news that a naval college field trip to Japan was marked more by onsen springs and skiing than training and development.

The corruption watchdog group Watchdog ACT has revealed details of a trip to Japan taken by a class of the Royal Thai Naval Command and Staff College which was sanctioned by the Naval Education Department. A significant portion of the itinerary appears to bear no relevance to the trip’s formal purpose of ‘observing work’.

Highlights of the trip included visits to the Fujiten Snow Resort, the Asahi Brewery, the Sapporo Brewery and shopping at Shinsaibashi-suji.

“This hard work involved an allowance of 2,100 baht a day,” reported Watchdog ACT.

Social media has reacted with outrage, with over 1,400 people sharing Watchdog ACT’s Facebook post detailing the trip’s itinerary.

But one person claiming to be from the navy took to Facebook to argue that the trip was justified by the stressful and dangerous nature of the military’s work.

“Just before you kindly voice criticism, our work is hard and exhausting. We perform dangerous duties in the three Southern border provinces, while all of you sleep in your homes, consume fake news, and then denounce the people who protect you! We train hard and take many risks. The military are likely to need rest.  The budget we get is the budget that is our due. … We need to relax. We need to take trips sometimes. It’s been the normal thing for a long time,” read the statement.

Last year, Watchdog ACT released details of a similar military college field trip to Europe. Military officials maintain that that trip was not funded by taxpayers’ money.

A compilation of pictures from the trip from Watchdog ACT. The text in the middle reads: ‘Japan fever; Royal Thai Naval Command and Staff College Class 77 organises trip to onsen spring, skiing, and eating giant crab’.

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