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Yamato Holdings admits intentionally overcharging for moving services

In this March 2017 photo, a courier pushes a dolly full of boxes at Yamato Transport Co.'s distribution station in Tokyo. (Kyodo)

TOKYO (Kyodo) -- Yamato Holdings Co. said Friday an internal probe found a moving service subsidiary intentionally overcharged customers, with the misconduct carried out systematically in some cases.

The parcel delivery and moving service company said its five board members including President Masaki Yamauchi will return part of their salaries to take responsibility for the overcharging, which totaled 1.7 billion yen ($15 million) covering about 48,000 contracts with 2,640 companies signed from May 2016 to June this year.

The subsidiary Yamato Home Convenience will stop taking new orders for moving services until it introduces measures to prevent such misconduct.

Yamato Holding said the probe found about 16 percent of all the cases of overcharging were conducted intentionally.

Some employees admitted the overcharging was aimed at improving business result, according to the probe, which concluded that the company's internal audit and governance were not sufficient to detect such behavior.

"We deeply apologize for betraying the trust of all our customers and causing inconvenience and anxiety," Yamauchi said at a press conference.

In early August, the transport ministry conducted an on-site inspection of Yamato's headquarters in Tokyo and other offices on suspicion of violation of the trucking business law. The practice occurred at 123 of Yamato Home Convenience's 128 offices, according to the ministry.

Yamato Holdings said it had apologized to its clients and plans to reimburse customers who were overcharged.

The company said it is unclear what impact the scandal will have on earnings for the current fiscal year ending in March.

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