• Kyodo

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Major trucking and home delivery firm Sagawa Express Co. publicly accused a Kyoto prefectural assemblyman Monday of falsifying its company registry and reported the incident to Kyoto Prefectural Police.

Sagawa Express has charged that Kihei Morita, 78, a Liberal Democratic Party member of the prefectural assembly and the head of the LDP group in the assembly, filed the falsified registry with the Kyoto Regional Legal Affairs Bureau in December.

The false registry gave the appearance that all the current Sagawa Express executives have been dismissed and that Morita himself is president of the firm, Sagawa Express said.

According to the Kyoto-based firm, Morita had compiled false records of stockholders and board meetings and also changed the registered company seal.

The company ran advertisements in major newspapers Monday, saying Morita’s act was “an apparent criminal act,” and that the firm is “taking every possible means in an effort to pursue (Morita’s) responsibilities under civil and criminal codes.”

The ad also said the Kyoto District Court issued a provisional injunction last Tuesday that said Kunio Manabe’s status as president of Sagawa Express is unchanged and ordered Morita and five other executives he had registered not to disrupt the company’s business by calling themselves board members.

Sagawa Express filed a complaint with prefectural police, alleging that the case constituted fabrication of private documents with seals as well as falsification of public papers, but did not name any suspects. Police have launched an official criminal investigation into the case.

Morita has owned up to the allegations.

Morita told a news conference Monday that he thought the firm would be willing to negotiate with him once he became its president.

He earlier said he tampered with the firm’s registry because he was angry that Sagawa stopped doing business with a delivery company run by his relatives around 2000 and because it refused to acknowledge that he is one of its rightful owners.

Morita said he had served as a board member of Sagawa Express between 1965 and 1981 and has been a joint owner of the company. He claims he helped Kiyoshi Sagawa, the founder and former chairman of Sagawa Express, when Sagawa started his company in 1962 by forking out the startup capital.

Sagawa transformed the company from a courier service delivering small packages between Kyoto and Osaka into one of the biggest players in the industry. The founder died last March.

“I put up all the capital to start the company, and all of Sagawa Express’ stock should be mine,” he told the news conference at his office in the town of Kizu in the prefecture. “But I suddenly realized that I owned none of the stock.”

He also alleged that the management distorted the contents of an agreement he had with Sagawa that he would receive a portion of the company’s profits.

Morita added that he would not run in the assembly election to be held in April so he can concentrate on the Sagawa Express issue.

“I would hope to see company management show some sincerity, but I will turn to legal countermeasures if necessary,” he said.

According to a spokeswoman for Sagawa Express, the case is under police investigation, and the company can give no information on the matter other than what it has included in the newspaper ads.

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