How the leader of a baseball team at a powerful school was arrested for fraudulently receiving benefits | FRIDAY DIGITAL

How the leader of a baseball team at a powerful school was arrested for fraudulently receiving benefits

A shocking incident that took place at a school that participated in the Koshien National Baseball Championship: Arrested for cheating 800,000 yen in "GoTo Benefits" using a training camp

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The suspect, Seki Yamamoto (53, current manager of Kurashiki High School), who led Osaka Kaisei Gakuen to its first appearance in the Koshien Tournament in the summer of ’15 and was known for his fiery personality, was arrested by January 12. The suspect is accused of fraudulently receiving benefits by abusing the government’s “GoTo Travel” campaign, a tourism support project. He falsely claimed that a training camp held in Tsuyama City, Okayama Prefecture, in August 2008, cost 20,000 yen per night instead of 7,000 yen. It is suspected that he applied to the Japan Tourism Agency for a training camp in Tsuyama City, Okayama Prefecture, in August 2008, falsely claiming that it cost 20,000 yen per night when it cost 7,000 yen, and cheated a total of 113 people out of about 800,000 yen in benefits.

The suspect, Toshinori Yoshima, a classmate of Yamamoto’s from junior high and high school and the owner of Bunnoya Ryokan, where the fraud took place, was also arrested.

After the team made its first appearance at the summer Koshien tournament in 2003, Yamamoto, who had been a dedicated coach, stopped showing up for practice on more and more days.

He was arrested for insurance fraud and dismissed on disciplinary grounds after 20 days of detention. He has been at the helm of Osaka Kaisei Gakuen since 2011, but resigned last year after his former coach was found to have sexually harassed a ballplayer and took responsibility for the incident, returning to Kurashiki in April.

In April, he returned to Kurashiki. “Seki’s personality changed after he participated in the Koshien Tournament.

This is what a baseball coach who has known Yamamoto for a long time told me.

He would accompany the players to practice until after midnight and drive his own microbus to the tournament. During his time at Kurashiki and Kaisei, he trained professional baseball players and was a reliable technical instructor. However, as he participated in the Koshien Tournament and became famous as an unprecedented coach, his attitude gradually became arrogant. During practice games at a field in Tondabayashi City, Osaka Prefecture, he would not sit on the bench, but would sit on a couch behind the back net and lead the team with a lump in his throat.

When the team lost in the last summer tournament, he would criticize the players by name, saying, ‘We lost because of you,’ and even at the graduation ceremony, he would still talk about it. Usually, it’s the players’ fault if they win. If you win, it’s the players’ fault. If you lose, it’s the coach’s fault.” I think that’s the natural attitude of a baseball coach. ……

For some time now, I have been receiving bad comments from coaches of other schools who say that they never want to have practice games with Kaira. He also pointed out the bad manners of the Kaira players and questioned Yamamoto’s ability to teach and manage them.

Yamamoto, who left his family in his hometown of Okayama and lived in Kaisei’s dormitory to teach the players, has twice been boycotted by the players, according to a baseball club official.

The first time was in August of 2005. The first time was in August 2005, when it was discovered that manager Yamamoto had taken a woman into the dormitory after the players had gone to bed. The second year players at the time couldn’t believe the coach’s humanity and boycotted the practice. The second time was in the fall of ’20, when a student’s scandal was also discovered and the matter was put to rest.

The second time was in the fall of ’20. The second time was in the fall of ’20, when the players, dissatisfied with the hard practices and the coaching policy, raised their voices. However, it was handled as “excessive guidance” by the faculty coach and an outside coach, and the problem was settled when both coaches left the baseball team.

Evading responsibility by using the coach as a shield

In ’19, he began to focus on recruiting players instead of holding classes at school, and there were many days when he did not show up for practice.

The night practices, which used to go on until he was satisfied with his performance, often ended early. All of us who helped the coach with practice have never once been bought a meal by the coach. He often had the coach drive him out, but he never paid for the expressway fare. He was famous for being stingy.

He worked with the coaches as if they were his minions, and when a problem arose and he was about to come under fire, he used the coaches as a shield to escape responsibility. This is why many coaches in the Kaisei baseball team did not last long.

In this case, the parents paid only 2,000 yen, even though they claimed to have paid 20,000 yen to stay in a dormitory that cost 7,000 yen a night. It is believed that he cheated the government out of the benefits by using a clever trick where there was no “victim” in the baseball team.

I wonder if the man, who genuinely wanted to be the champion of the Koshien and wrote “All my students are my children” when asked for his autograph, has turned into a money-grubber after participating in the Koshien.

Even before his arrest, there were rumors that he had been involved in illegal activities at GoTo, but Yamamoto told this writer that he had done nothing wrong.

From “FRIDAY” February 4, 2022 issue

  • Reporting and writing Yuji Yanagawa

    Non-fiction writer

  • PHOTO Yuji Yanagawa, Kyodo News (2nd photo)

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