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The Cabinet Office said Friday it will revoke the licenses of five nonprofit organizations that have corporate status because the groups either failed to submit activity reports or because their representatives were arrested in criminal cases.

The revocations, effective upon notification reaching the five, will be the first since the NPO law took effect in 1998, the office said.

The Cabinet Office said it intervened to act against the rising number of malicious groups operating as NPOs, although the law is meant to minimize administrative involvement in order to respect corporate autonomy.

The Cabinet Office will revoke the license of a Tokyo-based research group on consumer affairs because its director was arrested for allegedly extorting 30 million yen in cash from construction company Haseko Corp.

The office said it determined that “the illegal behavior damaged the group’s credibility.”

An association on management of septic tanks based in Fukuoka Prefecture will have its license revoked because its director was arrested in November 2002 for allegedly transporting human waste without a permit.

The Cabinet Office said it had requested a report on the alleged violation but the group failed to respond.

The other three groups, all based in Tokyo, failed to submit activity reports to the Cabinet Office for three years and had no actual operations, the office said.

In December, the office considered revoking the licenses of six NPOs, including the five cited above.

The groups were given an opportunity to explain themselves, but the office said it did not receive replies of sufficient merit to withdraw the planned revocation.

One Kyoto-based group voluntarily disbanded.

The groups whose licenses are revoked can apply for new ones, which would be granted if no problems are found, the office said.

Incorporated NPOs are independent from the state.

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