Early on Monday morning, Kunio Hatanaka, a 39-year-old employee in the company’s travel department, was found to have 118 grams of kakuseizai, or stimulant drugs, during a search of a backpack upon his arrival at Haneda Airport via a flight from Taiwan. He also had 0.8 grams of the same substance concealed inside the fabric of his pants.
The contraband has an estimated street value of 8.4 million yen.
Hatanaka denies the charges, telling police he “was not aware of the drugs” and “does not know how they entered the backpack.”
The search was conducted after police learned from another man convicted in the possession of stimulant drugs that he had obtained the contraband from Hatanaka. According to police, the suspect has traveled to Taiwan on more than 140 occasions since 2008. Police believe the suspect has been obtaining stimulant drugs in Taiwan in order to sell them in Japan.
Police searched the residence of the suspect on Tuesday and found 1.2 grams of stimulant drugs and about 20 glass pipes, according to Kyodo News.
Also on Tuesday, Hatanaka was dismissed from Rakuten. The suspect, who joined the company in May of 2015, was working in a division that handles travel bookings.
A representative of Rakuten offered an apology over the arrest. “We will strive to thoroughly educate employees so that this will not happen again in the future,” the representative said.