TOKYO (TR) – Niigata and Fukushima prefectural police on Thursday arrested three suspects on fraud charges for allegedly using subsidized housing provided to evacuees for a sex business following the Great East Japan Earthquake of 2011, reports the Mainichi Shimbun (Feb. 15).
Officers took sex-club manager Tsuguo Sakuma, 37, company employee Tatsuya Ishioka, 32, and Eiwa Sawara, 41 — all of whom are residents of Fukushima — into custody for allegedly using two apartments located in Chuo Ward of the city of Niigata as a dispatch area for sex workers employed at a deri heru (out-call sex) service between December of 2011 and August of last year.
According to the Asahi Shimbun (Feb. 14), the suspects applied for the apartments in November of 2011 as evacuees of the Fukushima nuclear disaster under a system implemented by the Disaster Relief Act. Under the act, applicants may receive housing on a rent-free basis with the intention that they will focus on rebuilding their lives.
With each apartment maintaining a market rent value of approximately 60,000 yen each, officers estimate the total amount of the fraud to be 1.3 million yen. The suspects also received several million yen in monthly revenue from the sex club business, which was operated by Sakuma.
According to the Ministry of Health, Labor, and Welfare, 62,740 people (as of February 12) have utilized the system in Japan’s 47 administrative districts. Of that amount, 90 percent were from Fukushima.
A representative from the construction division of Fukushima Prefecture said the alleged fraud required the collection of more data and a lengthened investigation.
Officers are now trying to determine whether a portion of the revenue of the club was being used as funding for organized crime.