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Shop owners’ cooperative gets itself into deep trouble

Date Posted: 2004-06-24

Word came out a few days ago that the head of a local union organization had tapped the till without permission, taking some ¥10,000,000.

Yesterday, it got worse.

Officials charge the Okinawa Prefecture shop owners cooperative, Nissen Ren, chairman with helping himself to yet another ¥87,000,000. Masanaga Hashimoto is accused of writing exchange order checks by himself, without approval, then pocketing the money.

Police are now involved, as it turns out Hashimoto’s actions not only involve the Nagasaki Prefecture fresh fish wholesaler involved in the first ¥10,000,000, but now involves a host of other companies, including a jewelry business.

The check to the fish company bounced, and that company took legal action to get its money. Chairman Masanaga says “I didn’t write the check with Nissen Ren money. It was my other company, my own company’s check.”

Officials say this Nissen union has been in trouble before, with directors and staff taking union money and squandering it. Once it couldn’t even make its payments to Tokyo Nissen Ren headquarters, and was expelled from the cooperative organization.

According to staff, the chairman had another company, a gift shop company, to which he wrote himself checks from Nissen Ren. They say he should have been paying his own bills with his own gift shop money, but it didn’t have any money.

Now, the Nissen Ren in Okinawa has been expelled from the national Japan union, and the local cooperative must cough up ¥12,000,000 in fees.

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