A man who was arrested for impersonating a doctor in the tsunami-ravaged Tohoku region last year has been given a suspended three-year sentence by the Sendai District Court in Sendai.
The court heard that Yoshitaka Yoneda, 42, was first arrested in August. He was held for posing as a doctor in Ishinomaki, Miyagi Prefecture, and for possessing forged documents, despite not holding a medical license.
The case came to light after a major newspaper carried a photo of Yoneda treating an evacuee in Ishinomaki. Yoneda had “treated” several people in earthquake-affected areas by the time the ruse was uncovered. His "treatment" consisted of giving evacuees painkillers and counselign them, the court heard.
Authorities said that Yoneda had also breached medical practitioners’ law in late June when he attended a medical conference by showing staff a copy of a medical practitioner’s license, which turned out to be a forgery.
According to TV Asahi, after his arrest, police uncovered evidence suggesting that Yoneta applied to the Nippon Foundation, a philanthropic NPO, for a grant in June. Police say he received 1 million yen from the foundation.
In handing down the suspended sentence, the presiding judge said that Yoneda's actions were reckless and callous because he misled people who were in need of help, TV Asahi reported. However, he said he believed Yoneda went to the devastated area to try and help evacuees, with no malice or criminal intent.© Japan Today