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Kanagawa: Bribery involving post office chief resulted in ¥5 billion in losses

Akira Hasegawa
Akira Hasegawa (Twitter)

KANAGAWA (TR) – Kanagawa Prefectural Police last week announced the arrest of the former chief of a post office in Yokohama as a part of a bribery probe in which the amount of lost revenue is believed to have reached 5 billion yen, reports NHK (Feb. 15).

On 72 occasions between January and August of last year, Akira Hasegawa, the 52-year-old former chief of the Aoba Post Office, provided reduced mailing fees to TTO, a company based in Chuo Ward’s Ginza district that engages in so-called “direct mail” marketing.

Police also arrested two former executives of TTO, 41-year-old Masamichi Yamahashi and 29-year-old Kazuya Arai.

A direct mail company engages in marketing efforts that use mail services to deliver promotional items to a targeted audience.

The reduction in fees for TTO was achieved by only charging the company for a fraction of the actual number of items mailed. In August, for example, TTO was charged for 3,300 items when 16,000 were actually shipped, resulting in a loss of 1.9 million yen in revenue to Japan Post Co., which provides postal services in Japan.

According to police, TTO executives wined and dined Hasegawa on 30 occasions in return for the reduced fees. In running up bills totaling around 610,000 yen, the TTO executives provided Hasegawa with meals, airline tickets and trips to such destinations as Okinawa and Kumamoto prefectures. The amount of revenue lost by Japan Post exceeded 100 million yen.

During voluntary questioning by police and an internal inquiry conducted by Japan Post, Hasegawa, who has been accused of violating the Act on Japan Post Holdings Co. regarding aggravated bribery, admitted to the allegations.

5 billion yen

According to Fuji News Network (Feb. 15), TTO paid 500 million yen in fees to Japan Post between 2012 and 2017. However, it is believed that similar bribery took place, resulting in lost revenue totaling 5 billion yen to the company.

When reached for comment, a representative of TTO told NHK that the person in charge was not present, making a response not possible. A representative of Japan Post said that the internal investigation in ongoing.