Ex-chairman of bankrupt Japan Life, 13 others arrested over fraud
Japan Today -- Sep 19
The former chairman of Japan Life Co, a now-bankrupt company, was arrested Friday along with 13 others on suspicion of running a "rental owner" investment scam involving clothing, jewelry and other goods it claimed had health benefits, police said.

The police suspect the company, which went under in March 2018 with debts of about 240 billion yen ($2.3 billion), fraudulently collected a total of 210 billion yen from about 10,000 victims in 44 of Japan's 47 prefectures.

Under the scheme, the company entered into contracts promising to pay purchasers of the products a 6 percent annual rental fee if they lent the items to others, investigative sources said. In most cases, purchased products were not physically provided to the buyers.

Friday's arrests were made on the specific allegation that former Japan Life Chairman Takayoshi Yamaguchi, 78, and the others conspired to fraudulently obtain about 80 million yen in total from some 10 customers around 2017, pledging to pay them interest and other fees despite knowing that the company was deeply in debt.

According to lawyers representing the victims, Yamaguchi, his daughter and former company president Hiromi Yamaguchi, 48, and other executives targeted mainly elderly people across the country in the alleged fraud, with some 7,000 victims seeking the return of about 180 billion yen following its bankruptcy in 2018.

The suspected scam attracted public attention when opposition lawmakers grilled then Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in parliament last year for inviting Yamaguchi to a state-funded annual cherry blossom viewing party in 2015. Abe denied he had a personal relationship with him.

「ジャパンライフ」の元会長らが詐欺の疑いで逮捕された事件で、元会長らは「銀行はあてにならない」などと高齢者らを勧誘していたことが分かりました。  ジャパンライフ元会長の山口隆祥容疑者(78)ら14人は2017年ごろ、会社が経営破綻しているにもかかわらず、顧客らに投資を呼び掛けて現金8000万円をだまし取った疑いが持たれています。その後の警視庁などへの取材で、山口容疑者らは「銀行はあてにならない」「金融機関はつぶれる」などと言って新たな預金先としてジャパンライフに投資を持ち掛けていました。  被害に遭った小松幸男さん(75):「預金は皆、ジャパン(ライフ)。『銀行に置いておいたって仕方ないから、ジャパンに置いておけば安心だよ』って」  山口容疑者らは同様の勧誘手口で高齢者を中心に金を集めていたということです。
News sources: Japan Today, ANNnewsCH
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