Silk Tree School Defrauded: Millions of Dollars in Damages But No Unease About Daily Operations

Silk Tree School Defrauded: Millions of Dollars in Damages But No Unease About Daily Operations

Yomiuri Shimbun, ねむの木詐欺「被害数億円、運営は心配ない」

Staff Report, February 19, 2011

Kakegawa City Silk Tree School

The Silk Tree School outside Kakegawa City

The faculty of the Silk Tree School for physically handicapped children in Kamitaruki, Kakegawa City, Shizuoka Prefecture learned on the 17th that one of its staff members was suspected of stealing large sums of money from the school’s principal, 83-year old former actress Ms. Mariko Miyagi, through bank fraud.

The next morning, the embarrassed teachers came to work and managed a perfectly ordinary school day. The school has told the prefecture it will continue operating as normal. It has received supportive phone calls and fax messages from all over the country.

According to the staff, on February 17, 56-year old suspect Yumiko Kondō, a senior faculty member who had worked for the school for over 30 years, was arrested and dismissed from her post. Since she was responsible for the school’s accounting, she also managed Ms. Miyagi’s bank account. Her official residence is the school’s women’s dormitory, but she usually lived in Tokyo and was rarely seen at the school. When asked about her, staff members shook their heads and said, “There was nothing flashy about her. She was a normal person who didn’t stand out. We don’t understand why this happened.”

Arrested along with Kondō was 57-year old Nakei Asahina (real name Noriyuki Hirosawa), who had visited the school frequently some years before. He had given a Christmas cake to the children and volunteered at one of the school’s art exhibitions outside the prefecture, among other things. His connection with Kondō is unknown.

The damages are potentially steep, but the faculty said “there are separate bank accounts for managing the school, so we’re not worried about providing the necessities for the children or salaries for the teachers.”

According to the prefecture, Ms. Miyagi and her lawyer visited the Prefectural Office on January 6 and explained the situation. Ms. Miyagi said the damages “are in the millions, but the management of the school is not in danger.” The prefecture gave oral instructions on how to manage the case. On the 18th, the prefectural Office of Welfare for the Disabled called the school to confirm that everything was proceeding as normal.

Original Japanese Version Under the Break:









(2011年2月19日11時17分 読売新聞)

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