False drug charges lead to reprimands for Tokyo police chief

The National Public Safety Commission took disciplinary action June 11 against the head of the Metropolitan Police Department and other ranking officers in connection with a police frame-up of an innocent man.

The commission, chaired by Home Affairs Minister Katsuhiko Shirakawa, reprimanded Kenji Maeda, 57, superintendent general, and Koji Takifuji, deputy superintendent general, for failing to properly supervise police and prevent the disgrace. Maeda became the second MPD head in recent memory to be disciplined by the commission, which supervises police in general.

The case involves three officers at Tokyo’s Joto Police Station who conspired to frame and arrest an innocent man in April for possession of stimulant drugs in an attempt to boost their arrest record. Shigeri Muramatsu, 58, chief of the Shoto Police Station, stepped down over the incident.

Six other officials punished include Yoshihiro Chinen, 46, director of the Tokyo district department; Sakuo Nakada, 55, deputy chief of the Joto Police Station; and Isamu Kikuchi, 54, and Masayuki Tanaka, both senior officials of the regional district section, sources said.

The National Public Safety Commission took the steps following the indictment June 11 of the three police officers linked to the frame-up. They are former Sgt. Shuji Kawaguchi, 40, former officer Ryoichi Akamatsu, 24, and former Sgt. Masahiko Yamazaki, 37.

According to the indictment, Kawaguchi received 1 gram of stimulants from a 33-year-old friend on April 9. Kawaguchi and Yamazaki slipped the drug into a 57-year-old homeless man’s bag while patrolling a street in Koto Ward early April 14, and then took the man in for questioning. Kawaguchi and Akamatsu also arrested a 41-year-old factory worker April 18 for stimulant drug possession, after intentionally placing the drugs on the driver’s seat of the man’s car, according to the indictment.