OSAKA — The Osaka District Public Prosecutor’s Office has arrested a senior prefectural government official and a managing director of a medical corporation in Sakai, Osaka Prefecture, on suspicion of graft.

Tomosaburo Hamanoue, a deputy director general at the prefectural government’s environmental health division, allegedly received several hundred thousand yen from Yoshisuke Shiozaki, the director at Kiwa-kai medical corporation between April 1996 and earlier this month, the prosecutor’s office said late Sept. 17.

Hamanoue served as a powerful official who authorized the establishment of new hospitals and medical corporations and changes of hospitals’ operations. The money was given to Hamanoue in return for favors at the hospital where Shiozaki was president, prosecutors alleged.

Hamanoue, who worked in the division for 11 years, was responsible for transferring and discharging patients from three hospitals in the Yasuda Hospital group. The group allegedly swindled the government out of millions of yen by filing fraudulent medical expense claims. The group’s top officials were arrested in July.

The prefectural government was criticized for neglecting to check the Yasuda group’s operations and padding the number of doctors and nurses at its hospitals. According to top prefectural government officials, Hamanoue was proud of his friendly relationship with directors of medical institutions and sometimes invited them to his office to exchange opinions. Hamanoue is “capable but too aggressive,” they said.

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