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About 1,600 Comsn Inc. nursing-care centers will not get their licenses renewed because some were obtained fraudulently, government officials said Wednesday.

The decision will affect an estimated 60,000 customers, welfare ministry officials said.

Later Wednesday, staffing agency Goodwill Group Inc., Comsn’s parent firm, listed on the Tokyo Stock Exchange, said its nursing business will be transferred to another group firm so it can keep providing service to customers.

The Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry instructed prefectural governments not to renew the six-year permits for 1,655 Comsn care centers nationwide, or 80 percent of its operations, when they expire between next April and March 2012, the officials said.

The prefectures were also told not to issue new licenses to the firm, they added.

To mitigate the loss of services to the affected consumers, the ministry will ask local governments to introduce other service providers.

Comsn fraudulently included caretakers it did not have under its employ in reporting the payroll of a care center in Hirosaki, Aomori Prefecture, to get the permit to open it last July, the ministry officials said.

The ministry has also determined that Comsn’s move to close care centers in Tokyo when the metropolitan government was about to revoke their licenses was a flagrant attempt to escape the punitive step.

Based on these incidents of fraud, the ministry will apply the guilt-by-association clause for Comsn’s eight operations in five prefectures in terminating its licenses under the nursing-care insurance law.

Under the clause, a nursing-care center operator cannot have the licenses renewed for its establishments or get new licenses for five years.

This is the first time the ministry has applied the clause to a company that has nationwide operations.

Comsn mainly operates institutions for day care and care attendant-dispatching services. By the end of March 2009, 657 of the firm’s centers will no longer be able to conduct business due to the ministry’s orders, the officials said.

From fiscal 2009 to fiscal 2011, the licenses of around 300 centers will expire each year, they said.

Set up in 1988, Comsn was running 2,081 welfare institutions across Japan as of the end of May, of which 426 are not subject to the punitive step.

A Comsn representative claimed the firm has yet to confirm the ministry’s orders.

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