• Kyodo

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A TV celebrity who is the resident priest of a Buddhist temple was arrested Wednesday in Kanagawa Prefecture on suspicion of forging private documents to assume the presidency of a religious corporation.

Mudo Oda, 50, whose real name is Reisuke Oda, was arrested with two other people on suspicion of forging the minutes of the religious corporation’s board meeting and a letter of resignation for its former president, police said.

The other two, including the head of an affiliate of the powerful Inagawa-kai underworld syndicate, are suspected of asking Oda to participate in the takeover bid so they could profit from the scheme.

According to police, the trio forged the minutes and resignation letter in June 2001 and submitted them with a false statement announcing that Oda, of Atsugi, Kanagawa Prefecture, had assumed the presidency, to the Nakano branch of the Tokyo Legal Affairs Bureau.

The corporation has been managing an 11,800-sq.-meter cemetery in Machida, western Tokyo, since 1995. It has sold 3,000 sections of grave lots and obtained permanent lease fees for them, police said, adding that one of the sections, with an area of 4 sq. meters, went for 3.08 million yen.

Oda was being paid by the corporation for dispatching a monk from his temple, police said.

In February, police raided Oda’s temple on suspicion of forgery.

In a separate civil suit in March, the Yokohama District Court found that Oda had not assumed the office of corporation chief and ordered that the false information be removed from the records.

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