• Kyodo, Staff Report

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It was all a lie.

A 36-year-old woman has apologized for making up a story that her 6-year-old nephew needed heart transplant surgery overseas and for holding a news conference to solicit funds for it.

At the Tuesday news conference, held at the health ministry, she posed as a representative of her nephew’s purported support group and said it had already gathered ¥50 million but needed another ¥150 million to finance the surgical procedure and other costs. She even launched a website for donations that listed multiple bank accounts to which donors could wire money.

When she launched the website, a supporter suggested she hold a news conference to spread word about her cause, the Mainichi Shimbun reported. The newspaper said she went through with it because she couldn’t admit then that her plea was a hoax.

“I came up with the lie because I needed money,” the woman told reporters Wednesday. “I live with my father who told me that we had no money and could barely afford to buy food. That’s why I came up with the donation idea.”

She said she wasn’t aware how of much money the hoax had made but pledged to reimburse the donors.

The boy’s parents were furious.

“We had no clue. She revealed his name and his photo without consent, and it’s unbelievable. She is a relative. Our child is perfectly healthy and doesn’t need any donations,” they said.

Their lawyer is considering legal action.

After several media outlets reported the news, the boy’s parents contacted the heath ministry press club through their lawyer to try to set the record straight.

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