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Osaka cops nab monk in pollution of river with illegally transported sand

Yoshiaki Sakata
Yoshiaki Sakata, a monk at Naritasan Shonsoji Temple, has been accused of violating Osaka Prefecture’s erosion control regulations (TBS News)

OSAKA (TR) – A monk working for a religious corporation was arrested on Tuesday for allegedly transporting sand without a license to a property in the mountains, polluting a nearby river and disrupting intake of drinking water, reports TBS News (May 16).

Osaka Prefectural Police arrested Yoshiaki Sakata, 67, of Naritasan Shonsoji Temple, as well as five other suspects on suspicion of violating the prefecture’s regulations regarding erosion control.

The other suspects include Naoya Matsushima, the 30-year-old former president of a construction firm in Osaka City and his father, 60-year-old Tsunoru, who works at the same company, the Sankei Shimbun reported (May 16).

Sakata and the suspects allegedly transported sediment for use in reclamation work for some 4,300 square meters at the corporation’s grounds in the mountains of the Hino area of Kawachinagano City without a license from August 2016 to September, police said.

The illegally deposited sediment flowed into and polluted a nearby river in late September, disrupting the intake of drinking water, police said.

Sakata claimed before his arrest that the construction company was tasked with applying to the prefectural government for the sand.

Sakata and the suspects ignored numerous orders to halt the operation, the prefectural government said.

The temple and the company were ordered to clean up the pollution, but efforts to do so have stalled, the prefectural government added.