Ministry warned Orange Kyosai fund was illegal

The Education Ministry had pointed out in 1995 that the Orange Super Fund, an alleged fraud scheme operated by arrested Upper House member Tatsuo Tomobe and his family, could be in violation of the Investment Law, one of the firm’s internal documents revealed Jan. 31.After May 1995, ministry officials held a number of meetings with officials of Orange Kyosai Kumiai, the mutual aid society that ran the fund. The group planned to set up a scholarship foundation to help students overseas planning to study in Japan, apparently to improve the image of the group or to raise funds, according to the document.During the talks, the ministry obtained a fund pamphlet and demanded the society explain the fund in detail on Aug. 22, 1995. The ministry pointed out that the fund’s program could be in violation of the law, but society officials allegedly evaded the ministry’s suspicions by not giving clear answers. After the meeting, Orange Kyosai workers reportedly compiled details of the meeting into one document and handed it to Tomobe.Despite receiving the information from the ministry, 68-year-old Tomobe continued to raise funds by explaining to his agencies and society members that the fund did not violate the law. The scholarship foundation was planned to be set up by the end of last year, but it fell through after the ministry pointed out that the fund was probably illegal.Sources said the ministry had demanded top posts in Orange Kyosai for former senior ministry officials, or employment of retired ministry workers — a practice known as “amakudari,” or descent from heaven. A ministry official who was in charge of the foundation plan at that time declined comment on whether the ministry pointed out that the fund could be in violation of the law.