Indonesia Japan Fugitive
Immigration officers escort Japanese fugitive Mitsuhiro Taniguchi, center, who was arrested on Sumatra island in early June, prior to his deportation, in Jakarta, Indonesia, on Wednesday. Photo: AP/Dita Alangkara
crime

Indonesia deports Japanese man accused of COVID relief fraud

22 Comments
By Mari Yamaguchi

A Japanese man accused of defrauding the government of 1 billion yen ($7.3 million) intended for small Japanese businesses hurt by the coronavirus pandemic was arrested on board a flight Wednesday after being deported from Indonesia, where he fled 1 1/2 years ago.

Mitsuhiro Taniguchi, 47, was arrested by Japanese police who accompanied him from Indonesia. He was taken to a police station after landing at Tokyo's Narita airport, Japanese media reported. Police confirmed his arrest.

Indonesian immigration official Douglas Simamora said earlier Wednesday that Taniguchi was deported after his passport was revoked by the Japanese government and because he had no Indonesian residence permit.

Indonesian authorities arrested Taniguchi on June 4 at a house owned by a fish trader in Lampung province. During his stay there, he described himself as an investor interested in fisheries. Indonesian authorities are investigating whether other people in that country were involved in the fraud scheme linked to Taniguchi.

In one case, Taniguchi and his accomplice Koichiro Ota, 34, who was separately arrested Wednesday, allegedly defrauded the government of 2 million yen by submitting a false application behalf of someone lacking eligibility for a subsidy, the Tokyo police said.

Taniguchi and a group of acquaintances allegedly submitted about 1,700 false applications for COVID-19 relief funds to the Japanese government and illegally received subsidies on more than 960 of those applications, taking with them about 1 billion yen, reports say.

Police arrested Taniguchi's ex-wife and their two sons - believed to be part of a larger group - in May on fraud allegations and were preparing to place Taniguchi on an international wanted list. The three suspects allegedly defrauded the government of 3 million yen in COVID-19 subsidies from June to August 2020.

The case surfaced in August 2020 when the office offering the subsidies consulted with Tokyo police. Taniguchi entered Indonesia two months later on an investor visa.

Andi Jatmiko and Edna Tarigan reported from Jakarta

© Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

©2022 GPlusMedia Inc.


22 Comments
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Why didn't they hold a trial in Indonesia? Why did the send him back to Japan? Now he is free?!

-23 ( +5 / -28 )

If they have arrested family members in Tokyo I am sure the police will be interested in talking with him on his arrival.

6 ( +9 / -3 )

Taniguchi and a group of acquaintances allegedly submitted about 1,700 false applications for COVID-19 relief funds.

All of which could have been avoided by distributing COVID-19 relief funds in the form of a UBI, benefitting the needs of the many.

And bypassing these bureaucratic and legal and criminal tangles

But for the LDP better to get the money into the hands of business, property owner rentiers and having kickbacks than helping workers.

7 ( +9 / -2 )

If he makes it back to Japan then he's gotten off scot free.

-18 ( +3 / -21 )

financial genius on way back home?

1 ( +5 / -4 )

Michael MachidaToday  11:05 am JST

Why didn't they hold a trial in Indonesia? Why did the send him back to Japan? Now he is free?!

He was not charged with a crime in Indonesia, he was just effectively an illegal immigrant.

David BrentToday  12:22 pm JST

If he makes it back to Japan then he's gotten off scot free.

He's wanted in Japan, read the article.

Tokyo police arrested Taniguchi’s ex-wife and their two sons on May 30 on suspicion of fraud and placed Taniguchi on an international wanted list, according to the Japanese newspaper Mainichi Shimbun.

13 ( +16 / -3 )

Welcome home scum bag! Unless you have some LDP contact up ya sleeve which I doubt your screwed! Good!

8 ( +12 / -4 )

Good.

0 ( +5 / -5 )

Make it take it's mask off

-3 ( +3 / -6 )

I stand corrected. Thanks!

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

Did he "wave" goodbye to his funky surf shorts he was wearing when arrested

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

Payback time, baba!

Go on to hunt down more corona cheaters and scums still at large, dead or alive.

1 ( +6 / -5 )

Michael Machida

Today 11:05 am JST

Why didn't they hold a trial in Indonesia? Why did the send him back to Japan? Now he is free?!

He is not charged in Indonesia but he will be arrested in Japan.

Also deportation means any future travels including other countries will be difficult.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

What's with that Orange Sneakers?

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Payback time, baba!

Go on to hunt down more corona cheaters and scums still at large, dead or alive.

Start at Kasumigaseki, then proceed to the main offices of Keidanren.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

He is probably the first of many who will be arrested for this crime. The government tried to make it easy and quick for firms to get money to pay laid off employees, etc.. Unfortunately, people are going to take advantage of such systems for personal gain.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

@Mark its a fashion statement he bought them in advance to match is jail shirt!

What's with that Orange Sneakers?

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Should have gone to Peru, taking a chapter from Fujimori playbook

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Taniguchi and a group of acquaintances allegedly submitted about 1,700 false applications for COVID-19 relief funds.

Meanwhile thousands of honest eligible applicants were deliberately frustrated and made to apply multiple times without any reason given why their application was turned down. One small business owner applied 22 times and finally gave up.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

The government tried to make it easy and quick for firms to get money to pay laid off employees

Made it easy for fraudsters and not the hardworking, honest and truly eligible smallbusiness ownerd who were deliberately frustrated by turning down re-application after re-application without indicating what was wrong with their application until most just gave up. Meanwhile Dentsu and Deloitte Tohmatsu as distributors of the funds helped themselves with a big chunk of the funds without doing anything, the bureaucrats and politicians have their back, no crime committed.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Fraud, embezzlement, collusion, welfare depravation...enough said to have this character jailed in Indonesia - not Japan - and suffer truly at Indonesian hands the mental pain he inflicted to many.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Michael MachidaJune 22  11:05 am JST

Why didn't they hold a trial in Indonesia? Why did the send him back to Japan? Now he is free?!

> David BrentJune 22  12:22 pm JST

If he makes it back to Japan then he's gotten off scot free.

Here you go, guys/girls.  If you read the first two paragraphs again (carefully), you will realize that he was arrested on board the plane by Japanese police. Once the plane enters Japanese air space, the Japanese police evidently then have authority to make an arrest. They have no authority of arrest in another country. 

By the way, for anyone interested, if a baby is born on an international flight (it is rare, but does happen), the citizenship of this child is determined by the particular country’s airspace when the birth occurs.  Thus, if a child is born to Indonesian parents on a flight from Jakarta to Los Angeles and the baby is born in US airspace (a certain distance from the coast) the child is then a US citizen.  If the child is born in no country’s airspace, such as over the Pacific Ocean, the citizenship of the child is from the country in which the plane departed, in this case, Indonesia.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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