• SHARE

OSAKA — The president of a construction supply firm based in Suita, Osaka Prefecture, and his loan guarantor filed a criminal complaint Monday against nonbank moneylender Nichiei Co. and two of its employees for allegedly using unlawful tactics to get him to repay his debt. According to the complaint filed with Osaka Prefectural Police, the 62-year-old company president first began borrowing money from Nichiei, the nation’s top lender of “shoko” no collateral, high-interest-rate loans to small businesses in 1995. As of October 1998, his borrowings from Nichiei had ballooned to 11.5 million yen. A check issued by his firm that same month was dishonored, and he and the guarantor were summoned to Nichiei’s Osaka branch. The borrower, guarantor and two Nichiei employees were not identified. The two employees banged their fists on a table and shouted such remarks as “Jump out of the window right now — we’ll give you a push if you want” and “Get us the money by tomorrow” into the company president’s ear, the complaint said. The law on money-lending prohibits lenders from threatening debtors or demanding repayment in a way that violates their private lives or smooth business operations. Nichiei employees even visited the home of the president’s eldest son, who was also a guarantor for the loans, and placed emotional stress on the son’s wife, according to the complaint. Most of the loan was repaid by the son. Nichiei officials declined to comment on Monday’s complaint, saying they could not confirm any facts at this time. Osaka police were expected to launch a criminal investigation into Nichiei based on Monday’s complaint, sources close to the case said, making it the second such investigation against the lender following the probe launched by the Metropolitan Police Department. The loan-collection tactics of shoko lenders, which charge high interest rates on their loans, have come under close scrutiny in recent weeks as incidents bordering on extortion have come to light.

In a time of both misinformation and too much information, quality journalism is more crucial than ever.
By subscribing, you can help us get the story right.

SUBSCRIBE NOW