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JA officials in hot water over loans

Date Posted: 1998-05-09

A former chief of Japan Agricultural Cooperatives (JA), Yambaru Branch, has been fired and will soon face a major lawsuit by the JA, after making illegal loans to a friend to the tune of more than 720 million yen.

From early 1993 until this year, the chief of the JA, Yambaru Branch, illegally handed over large amounts of money to an acquaintance without properly securing a guarantees. He is also accused of filling out false paperwork, using assumed names as supposed guarantors and applicants, and asking for no collateral for the loans. His friend then used the money to finance a karaoke parlor and other ventures.

JA members were outraged when the internal investigation discovered the chief's activities. Members, most of who are farmers, pay dues to help keep operating costs low and are upset and asking questions. The key questions they want answers are why did this happen, how could it go on so long and why did no one notice. These and other questions have been mainly aimed to the Yonabaru Branch director, who is the boss of the former chief. The branch recently held a special emergency 2 1/2 hour long meeting behind closed doors, where officials explained the situation to the members and announced their intention to take their former chief to court. Officials say that JA Yambaru Branch is currently in the process of completing an investigation and is going to file the appropriate court papers.

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