Former Nagano pension exec takes the stand in Japan

27 January 2014   Category: News, Asia, Japan   By Maya Ando

The former general manager of the Nagano Prefecture construction employees’ pension fund (NPCEPF) admitted to embezzlement during his initial trial at Nagano district court on January 21. Yoshinobu Sakamoto was answering to his role in the scandal, which has resulted in billions of yen in company pension money going missing.

Mr. Sakamoto confessed to being involved in the embezzlement of 194 million yen (US$1.88 million) of the lost reserves, which have amounted to 2.4 billion yen worth of unexplained expenditure between 2005 and 2010. He was the sole manager of the fund. Mr. Sakamoto fled to Thailand in September 2010 after the Nagano fund filed complaints over the misappropriation with police. He was deported back to Japan in October 2013.

Mr. Sakamoto says he used the money for travel and entertainment as well as to purchase luxury items and invest in a nightclub. 

The NPCEPF is one of the 17 Japanese funds defrauded by AIJ Investment Advisors Co, which has since been renamed MARU. The fund had entrusted 6.5 billion yen to AIJ, which lost more than half of the 14.5 yen billion in pension money that was under its management. NPCEPF also said 2.3 billion yen of its money had been misappropriated between 2005 and 2010.