'Physician' saw 250 patients, skips; claim of Canada, U.N. Rwanda medical experience unravels

Disaster-zone doctor probed as fake


Police said Friday they have begun investigating a man who provided health care services without a proper license in Ishinomaki, Miyagi Prefecture, after the city was hit by the March earthquake and tsunami.

Suspicions about the man surfaced after the Asahi Shimbun introduced “Kiyoshi Yoneda” in a story in its Wednesday morning edition as a 42-year-old doctor from a Canadian hospital and who had also worked in Rwanda as a U.N.-designated doctor.

Police suspect the man of violating a law requiring anyone offering medical services to pass a national exam and acquire a license from the health minister.

In its Friday morning edition, the daily printed an apology for the story and retracted it.

The Asahi story said that “Yoneda” was a doctor at an emergency medical care center for children at a Canadian university hospital and worked at a clinic in Rwanda as a doctor sent by the U.N. Office of High Commissioner for Refugees in 1996.

The article, carrying a photo of the man wearing gloves, a cap and a mask, said he had seen more than 250 people since mid-March.

The man submitted a copy of a certificate of his medical license with a photo to Ishinomaki’s local social welfare association, which said the man had a card bearing the name Kiyoshi Yoneda. The Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry, however, said there was no one by that name on its list of medical licensees.

When the Asahi obtained information that he was not a licensed doctor and asked him about the certificate, he replied that the Canadian government had issued the license and that the name on it was false, according to the daily.

The man left Ishinomaki around Aug. 4 after saying he was going to visit a friend in Fukushima, according to an official of the local welfare association.

Nippon Television Network Corp. also said Friday it aired a program in July featuring the man.

The Nippon Foundation, which provided ¥1 million in subsidies to the man’s volunteer group, said it will launch a probe.