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University of Tokyo professor arrested for alleged swindling

Kyodo

A University of Tokyo professor was arrested Thursday for allegedly bilking the school and Okayama University out of a combined ¥21.8 million by falsely claiming he needed the funds for nonexistent research projects.

The special investigation unit of the Tokyo Public Prosecutor’s Office arrested Masanori Akiyama, 55, who specializes in developing electronic medical records systems at the Todai Policy Alternatives Research Institute. Todai is the name the University of Tokyo is known by locally.

Akiyama allegedly used the money he swindled from the universities for his own purposes as well as to pay private firms that cooperated in coming up with bogus projects, prosecutors said. The firms were not identified.

Todai said it will launch a committee to look into this case.

The prosecutors alleged that Akiyama between March 2010 and September 2011 conspired with six firms that submitted falsified delivery statements and bills for making databases for projects that didn’t exist to the University of Tokyo. The university paid ¥18.9 million to the companies.

Akiyama also conspired with an IT firm in March 2010 and swindled Okayama University out of about ¥2.9 million, claiming the funds were for a project he was working on together with a researcher at the college, the prosecutors alleged.

Akiyama graduated from Tokushima University, where he studied medicine. After gaining his medical license, he worked at Takamatsu Red Cross hospital in Kagawa Prefecture and at the National Center for Global Health and Medicine before landing his professorship at Todai.