Missing 6.3 million yen Alleged as Dirty Money of a Mayor with a Degree from Tokyo University | FRIDAY DIGITAL

Missing 6.3 million yen Alleged as Dirty Money of a Mayor with a Degree from Tokyo University

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When he was criticized for giving the Corona vaccine ahead of the elderly and saying that it was a priority vaccination, he said, “The mayor is a medical professional. Immediately after causing a traffic accident, he angrily asked the victim, “Would you like a steamed meat bun? ” Osamu Katono, 45, the elite, Tokyo University-educated mayor of the town of Jori-cho in Ibaraki Prefecture, is in the news for a number of reasons.

Mayor Kamitono

The “scandal” of Mayor Kamitono is again being discussed in the town assembly.

The health promotion facility “Horol no Yu,” for which the Josato Town Development Corporation serves as the designated administrator, has reportedly failed to declare bathing facilities’ taxes of approximately 6.3 million yen over a five-year period. A member of the Shirori Town Council reveals what happened.

“The development corporation that operates the facility is wholly owned by the town, and its chairman is the mayor of Kamitono. The council members pointed out that the bath facilities’ tax was clearly low in relation to the number of visitors, and this problem came to light. This problem came to light. When the town council pursued the issue, there was no clear answer as to what the 6.3 million yen was used for. Town residents have voiced their outrage one after another, and we have been busy dealing with them.”

Friday Digital obtained documents from town government officials that show a breakdown of the 6.3 million yen that has not been paid. In 2018, the amount was 556,000 yen, then 850,000 yen, 950,000 yen, 1.75 million yen, and last year, a whopping 2.18 million yen, and the amount of unpaid taxes has been rising steadily. The corporation has already filed an amended tax return with the town for the amount of around 9 million yen owed, including an underpayment penalty and late payment charges, but one of the board members of the development corporation shakes his head.

One of the board members of the development corporation is puzzled, “It makes no sense for the corporation to use money collected from the townspeople without permission and then say, ‘We’ll pay you back, so give us a break. The fact that the amount of unpaid taxes has increased every year despite the COVID-19 crisis is also disconcerting. We have also heard that the subsequent amended tax returns were handled at the sole discretion of the town mayor, who is the chairman of the board of directors, rather than the tax advisor.”

The mayor of Kamitono told the Ibaraki Shimbun, “I apologize. We did not do a good job of checking,” he replied. Seiichiro Seki, 67, former chairman of the town council and a member of the town’s audit committee, is outraged.

We have heard from those involved with the facility that ‘there is a possibility that irregularities have been chronically taking place since the mayor took office,’ and we are investigating the matter. The amount of money is too large to pass off as paperwork or input errors. The biggest problem is that there is no explanation as to what the source of the 9 million yen, including the overdue payment, is. If it is being generated from the Development Corporation’s funds, why can’t they tell us so? The board of directors and trustees are also petitioning that an emergency board meeting should be held to clarify the situation in public, but the mayor is adamant that there is no problem because the money has been returned. After clarifying the circumstances, we will demand that the staff member in charge of accounting be punished and that the board chairman step down.

The breakdown of the difference in bath tax obtained by this magazine

When we asked the Town Development Strategy Division of the town of Jori about the use of the unpaid money and the source of funds for the revised tax return, they responded as follows.

“The reason for the nonpayment is an error in the processing of the bath facilities tax in the entry/exit cash register system. There is no evidence that the tax was allocated to a specific use. There is no fact that the representative director handled the correction on his own. The accounting staff discovered the error, discussed it with the tax advisor, re-calculated it with several employees, and promptly filed a revised tax return and paid it after discussing and approving it within the organization. The corrected amount has been paid out of the cash on hand of the Jori-cho Development Corporation.”

As for the advancement of the facility’s chairman and board members, he said, “We would like to discuss this at the board meeting in October or November.”

What do the residents of this idyllic town, known for its lack of a train station, really think about the frequent disturbances that occur there?

  • Photo Takayuki Ogawauchi

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