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Thursday, July 24, 2003

DPJ targets watchdog official over insurance merger role


Staff writer

The Democratic Party of Japan filed a criminal accusation Wednesday against Financial Services Agency Commissioner Shokichi Takagi, blaming him for trying to pressure Tokio Marine & Fire Insurance Co. to consolidate with an ailing life insurance firm last year.

According to the charges brought by the DPJ to the Tokyo District Public Prosecutor's Office, Takagi met with Akihiko Mori, then vice president of Tokio Marine, on Jan. 21, 2002, and told the top nonlife insurer that unless it followed through on its planned merger with Asahi Mutual Life Insurance Co., "the credit system could collapse" and two other ailing life insurance companies might also go under.

The DPJ said Takagi's actions constitute attempted compulsion under the Penal Code.

DPJ lawmakers also alleged that Takagi, who headed the FSA's Supervisory Bureau at the time, violated the National Civil Service Law by leaking confidential information during the process. Civil servants are banned from divulging secrets they have learned in the course of their work.

Takagi's position theoretically allowed him access to the most classified, critical information regarding the health of financial institutions, and he violated his obligation to secrecy by revealing to Mori the extent of the problems at the life insurers, the DPJ said.

Whether Tokyo prosecutors will take action against Takagi has not been determined.

The companies mentioned were specifically identified in the original memo of the meeting, as well as the accusation filed with prosecutors, but they have been withheld in copies distributed to reporters, DPJ member Satsuki Eda of the House of Councilors told a news conference Wednesday.

The accusation was jointly filed by DPJ policy chief Yukio Edano, DPJ financial policy chief Fumihiko Igarashi, and Upper House members Eda and Kohei Otsuka.



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The Japan Times

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