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Prosecutors to question ex-chief of scandal-hit Moritomo Gakuen, wife over subsidies

Former Moritomo Gakuen chairman Yasunori Kagoike, left, and his wife Junko (Mainichi)

OSAKA -- Public prosecutors here are poised to question the former chief of scandal-hit school operator Moritomo Gakuen and his wife on a voluntary basis on suspicion of illicitly obtaining subsidies from the state and the Osaka Prefectural Government, it has been learned.

    Yasunori Kagoike, 64, and his 60-year-old wife Junko are expected to be questioned by a special investigative unit of the Osaka District Public Prosecutors Office on the afternoon of July 27.

    The unit has already searched Moritomo Gakuen's headquarters and other locations on suspicion of fraud and the illicit acquisition of subsidies and is following through in its investigation. The couple left their home in the Osaka Prefecture city of Toyonaka shortly after noon of July 27, and headed by car to the district public prosecutors' office.

    Kagoike told reporters in front of his home, "This is the day (in 1976) when (former Prime Minister) Kakuei Tanaka was arrested over the Lockheed incident, and I'm heading out on this fated day. I want to be crystal clear and explain the things that I can explain."

    Prosecutors had earlier requested that Kagoike and his wife appear at the district public prosecutors' office. Kagoike has denied wrongdoing, telling reporters that he never intended to defraud anyone, and is expected to say the same to prosecutors.

    According to investigative sources, suspicions have arisen that through actions including submitting false documentation to the Osaka Prefectural Government between fiscal 2011 and 2016, Kagoike and his wife defrauded the city out of subsidies for full-time teachers at Moritomo Gakuen's Tsukamoto Kindergarten in Osaka's Yodogawa Ward, as well as subsidies for children with disabilities, with the total amount reaching about 62 million yen.

    Prosecutors also suspect a violation of the law on subsidy regulation. through the pair's illicit receipt of about 56 million yen in subsidies based on the March 2016 submission of a construction service contract falsely set at a high amount.

    Kagoike served as chief of Moritomo Gakuen and head of Tsukamoto Kindergarten until March this year, and was in charge of applying for subsidies. He wife served as deputy head of the kindergarten and as head of a related day care center, and was present at meetings on applications for government subsidies.

    The special investigative unit of the Osaka District Public Prosecutors Office searched the kindergarten and day care center on June 19, and had been questioning the parties involved. The unit has also received a complaint of breach of trust in connection with suspicions that a worker at the Finance Ministry's Kinki Local Finance Bureau sold land to Moritomo Gakuen at an unfairly cheap price.

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