600 million yen unaccounted for! The “Don of Kindergarten”‘s Stupefyingly Rich Lifestyle at Luxury Clubs | FRIDAY DIGITAL

600 million yen unaccounted for! The “Don of Kindergarten”‘s Stupefyingly Rich Lifestyle at Luxury Clubs

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Kagawa, a suspect who held great power in the “kindergarten federation” for many years, photographed in July 2001 (Image: Kyodo News)

I’m going to the Diet Members’ Building. I’m also going to stop by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science, and Technology.”

The man known as the “kindergarten don” would often leave meetings and conferences to go downtown.

On July 13, the Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department’s Investigation Department’s Investigation Division 2 arrested the former president of the All-Japan Federation of Private Kindergartens (hereafter referred to as the “Federation”), Takashi Kagawa, 70, and the former secretary general, Norio Katsukura, on suspicion of embezzlement and forgery of personal documents. Between May 2004 and August 2008, the suspects are alleged to have embezzled a total of 7 million yen from the association’s account approximately 30 times. The police have yet to confirm or deny the allegations of both suspects.

The money was found to have been used to pay for food and beverages at exclusive clubs in Ginza and Akasaka, Tokyo, and for annual expenses at a fitness club in a hotel in Minato Ward. Under the guise of ‘lobbying,’ he dined with politicians and others three to four times a week at upscale sushi restaurants. The Korean club in Akasaka was his favorite, and he frequented it frequently. There is an inside story that he purchased famous foreign brand suits and ties, and that the funds of the “Kindergarten Union” disappeared by several hundred thousand yen in one week.

Serious Trouble Uncovered at Audit Meeting

The building in Tokyo’s Chiyoda Ward that houses the Kindergarten Union (Image: Jiji Press. (Image: Jiji Press; some parts have been doctored)

The suspect, Kagawa, is a prominent figure in Yamaguchi Prefecture. After graduating from the National College of Music, he worked at a Buddhist kindergarten in Hofu City, Yamaguchi Prefecture, and served as its president. He later served as a member of the Hofu City Board of Education and as a member of the Yamaguchi Prefectural Public Safety Commission. In May 2010, he became chairman of the Kindergarten Federation, which aims to promote early childhood education.

Kagawa served five terms as president for 10 years. He has connections with many politicians and is an absolutely powerful figure in the Kindergarten Union. He once used his close relationships with politicians to get a law amended to make early childhood education free of charge.

He often cracks jokes and has a boisterous personality. There have been rumors that he has been misusing money since he was chairman, but no one can complain. I got the impression that he was always working together with Katsikura, the former director general. Some people called him the ‘kindergarten don.

Kagawa, who had been enjoying his power, reached the end of his days in September 2008. The accounting audit revealed that as much as 500 million yen in unaccounted-for funds had been left unaccounted for.

Kagawa is suspected of forging four bankbooks and three balance certificates for the “Kindergarten Union” to prevent the fraud from being discovered. Kagawa admitted to forgery and resigned as president in November 2008. He had explained in his defense that “the accounts were managed by the secretary-general and were not misappropriated for personal use. On the other hand, Katsikura, who was the secretary general, said, “I made deposits and withdrawals at the direction of Chairman Kagawa. In March 2009, the “Kindergarten Union” filed a complaint against both suspects with the Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department.

The unaccounted-for money of the “Kindergarten Union” does not stop there. According to the investigation by the Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department, there have been unauthorized withdrawals amounting to 680 million yen, including from affiliated organizations. It is believed that both suspects were involved in the majority of these fraudulent withdrawals.

According to the investigation by the Metropolitan Police Department, the suspects are believed to have been involved in most of the illegal withdrawals, including those from related organizations. He was often in his hometown in Yamaguchi Prefecture, but when he was in Tokyo, he stayed at a luxury hotel. It is possible that most of the expenses, including the hire car fees for transportation, were used as expenses for the “Kindergarten Union.

Where in the world did the massive sum of 680 million yen disappear to? The Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department is currently investigating the “kindergarten dons.

  • Photo: Kyodo News Co. Kyodo News Agency Jiji Press

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