FUKUOKA – Police said Wednesday they have arrested a veteran member of the Fukuoka Prefecture Police for allegedly taking money in return for leaking personal information and a former president of a credit research company for providing bribes for the information.
Norifumi Chiyohara, 51, an assistant inspector in the third section of the Public Security Bureau in Munakata, Fukuoka Prefecture, allegedly took 10 bribes between late January and May from Kazuhiro Toba, 43, former president of a credit research firm.
Chiyohara accepted a total of ¥158,000 in bribes, according to the police.
He reportedly told the police that Toba was seeking and was provided with such information as addresses or parking space certifications for specific people.
Both Chiyohara and Toba have admitted to the charges, the police said.
Toba transferred the money into a bank account that was taken out in the name of a male acquaintance of Chiyohara, according to the police.
Chiyohara reportedly obtained some of the information that he gave to Toba by ordering subordinates on the force to access the police database.
The police are currently trying to determine why Toba was looking for the information he acquired from Chiyohara, as well as the timing for when the information was provided.
On Wednesday, the police searched Chiyohara’s house and the company where Toba worked.
According to investigators looking into the case, Chiyohara became acquainted with Toba about 10 years ago.
The police suspect Chiyohara may have been in debt to the tune of about ¥20 million due to a loan he guaranteed for a relative.
Chiyohara joined the police in 1980 and has worked mostly security assignments.
The investigation into the bribery was launched based on information provided by sources questioned in connection with a different case in May.
A similar case of bribery in the Fukuoka Prefectural Police came to light in July 2012, when a 50-year-old officer at the Fukuoka Higashi Police Station was charged with bribery.
That officer is currently on trial.
The prefectural police apologized for the latest case.
“We would like to deeply apologize to all citizens of Fukuoka,” police Inspector General Masahiro Takagi told a news conference Wednesday.
“Such behavior is unacceptable,” he said. “We need to pound ethical standards into the heads of all officers.”
Yasuhiro Konishi, director of Fukuoka police administration, issued a statement saying that “as soon as we confirm the facts, we will take appropriate action as well as all possible measures to prevent similar incidents from occurring in the future.”