National / Crime & Legal

Forged doctor's note gets yakuza out of jail, police say

Kyodo

Police raided a public hospital in the city of Kyoto Tuesday in relation to the alleged helping of a senior member of a crime syndicate stay out of prison by the forging of a certificate of illness.

A doctor at the Kyoto Prefectural University of Medicine hospital is suspected of falsifying a certificate for Yoshiyuki Takayama, the 60-year-old head of a yakuza group under the western-Japan-based Yamaguchi-gumi, investigative sources said.

Takayama was arrested in April 2010 on extortion charges but released on bail for health reasons in May 2012. He was sentenced to eight years in prison for crimes including extortion in June 2013, a sentence finalized by the Supreme Court in 2015. But citing a kidney disease, he has avoided imprisonment.

The doctor, whose identity has not been released, is suspected of forging a medical certificate saying that Takayama could not be imprisoned due to his condition following a kidney transplant at the hospital in July 2014, the sources said.

In December, the head of the hospital denied the allegations in response to questions from Kyodo News.

Takayama was convicted of conspiring with Kiyoshi Takayama, the second-ranking member of the Yamaguchi-gumi, in extorting ¥40 million ($352,000) from a man in the construction industry between 2005 and 2006. He also extorted ¥5 million from the same man in 2009.

Yoshiyuki Takayama turned himself in to the Kyoto District Public Prosecutor’s Office on Tuesday morning, the sources said. The Osaka High Public Prosecutor’s Office will process him for imprisonment.

The office collected Takayama’s recent medical data and judged earlier this month that his health has recovered to a level allowing imprisonment. The decision was made after consulting with doctors at a prison and a detention center, the sources said.

The criminal procedure law allows prosecutors to suspend imprisonment if a defendant’s health is feared to deteriorate significantly or reach a life-threatening level.

The hospital is known for kidney transplants, designated by the state as an institute providing advanced medical treatment.

The hospital conducted around 1,000 kidney transplants by 2015, the highest in western Japan, according to experts.