• Kyodo


Police on Thursday got an arrest warrant for the president of a bankrupt ironworks construction firm for allegedly killing a man in a truck crash earlier this month in Yatomi, Aichi Prefecture.

The victim in the crash was falsely identified as the president, Kiyoshi Hasegawa, 53, and police suspect the accident was preplanned as part of an insurance fraud scheme.

The victim, who was in the passenger’s seat at the time of the crash, was identified by police as 52-year-old Kazumi Ito of Kanie, Aichi Prefecture. Police raided Hasegawa’s home-cum-office Thursday night.

After the accident, Ito was misidentified as Hasegawa, who ran the ironworks construction company in the same town, apparently deliberately.

Hasegawa, who is now listed as missing, had a life insurance policy worth tens of millions of yen, sources said.

Banks had ceased transactions with the firm in early June, just prior to the incident, investigators said.

Police are trying to pinpoint the whereabouts of the president.

The accident occurred June 15 at around 2 a.m., when a truck, owned by the construction company, collided with a parked container truck in Yatomi. The man in the passenger’s seat apparently died from injuries sustained in the crash. There was no indication that the truck’s brakes had been applied before the crash.

Police found a breakthrough in the case after interrogating the 14-year-old junior high school boy, the younger brother of a company employee, was also a passenger in the truck at the time of the accident.

The boy told investigators that Hasegawa was driving the truck at the time of the accident, and Ito had been made to consume alcohol prior to getting on the vehicle.

He initially told police that a foreign male was driving the vehicle and later fled.

No autopsy was conducted because both the boy and Hasegawa’s wife identified the body as that of the company president. A funeral was held the day after the accident.

Police later discovered that the dead man in the passenger’s seat was not the president and that the driver may not have been a foreigner.

The boy initially told police that he went to the port after visiting a construction site because the president wanted to go fishing.

Police continued to question the boy because his statements are inconsistent, they said. It was learned that he called an ambulance at around 3:15 a.m. on June 15. from a telephone at a convenience store in Yatomi.

The ambulance crew picked the boy up at the store and arrived at the scene about 30 minutes after the call, they said.

The company president was popular among the youngsters in his neighborhood, according to local residents.

The company was established in 1986, with some 5 million yen in assets and five employees.