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Police probe NPO involved in possible fraud related to nuclear accident compensation

JIJI

A Tokyo-based nonprofit organization at the center of a fraud scandal related to nuclear accident compensation was probably established as a dummy organization, it was learned Saturday.

Four employees of the NPO, headed by former Defense Minister Fumio Kyuma, were arrested earlier this month for allegedly swindling about ¥12 million from Tokyo Electric Power Co. by filing bogus claims for damages from the Fukushima nuclear disaster.

Business reports submitted to the Tokyo Metropolitan Government by the NPO, established in August 2011, said no operations were carried out in fiscal 2011-2012 for various reasons, showing zeros for all categories of expenditures such as personnel expenses and energy bills.

The NPO did not submit its business report for fiscal 2013 by the June 2014 deadline.

The Metropolitan Police Department is investigating the possibility that the NPO made use of its name to win the trust of Tepco when filing fictitious claims for damages from harmful rumors related to the nuclear accident at the utility’s Fukushima No. 1 plant, informed sources said.

The NPO’s Japanese name, Higashi-nihon Daishinsai Genshiryoku-saigai-to Hisaisha Shien-kyokai (roughly translated as “The Association to Support Victims of the Great East Japan Earthquake Nuclear and Other Damage”), suggests that the organization assists victims of the March 2011 disasters.

“I only allowed my name to be used for the establishment (of the NPO) and I’ve never received reports about its operations and earnings,” said one board member.

According to people familiar with the matter, Kyuma became the head of the NPO at the request of an acquaintance but offered to resign over a year ago.

The MPD said the NPO has done paperwork on behalf of more than 10 companies claiming damages from Tepco for compensation amounting to more than ¥100 million.

The police are questioning former senior officials of the NPO to find out who the clients were and how the compensation money was used.

The Tokyo District Public Prosecutor’s Office is expected to decide what action to take against the four suspects on Friday at the earliest.