Ministry raided over postal fraud

OSAKA (Kyodo) Prosecutors raided the Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry on Wednesday over allegations that an official falsified government documents in connection with a case of postal system abuse, investigative sources said.

The prosecutors are looking for evidence of systematic involvement on the ministry’s side after Tuesday’s arrest of Tsutomu Kamimura, a welfare official in charge of administration pertaining to disabled people, for allegedly fabricating the documents.

One ministry official described Kamimura as a “very serious worker who is kind to subordinates and obedient to his boss.”

Suggesting the possibility of conspiracy, the official added: “He doesn’t come across as the kind of person who would do something like that on his own. . . . He may have been acting on instructions from someone else.”

Also arrested in connection with the case Tuesday was Tadashi Kono, 68, a former member of an organization supporting the disabled.

The two are suspected of fabricating a ministry document in late April 2004 that the organization used to take advantage of a Japan Post mail discount system that offers sharply reduced charges for the disabled, from the usual ¥120 to around ¥8 per item.

Yoichi Masuzoe, minister of health, labor and welfare, told reporters he will fully cooperate with the investigation.