“Relentless threats” resulted in person or persons getting over 12 million yen in benefits.

Welfare systems can be tricky business in any country and Japan is no different. On one hand there are complaints of extreme insensitivity on the part of officials, while on the other are complaints of the public abusing the system.

And then there’s a whole different breed of problem that emerged in Sakura Ward of Saitama City. On 25 May, a 43-year-old employee was fired after it was discovered that he funneled extra welfare benefits to a single household, totaling 12.71 million yen (US$116,744).

The payments were spread out over a ten-month period from April of last year to January of this year. To put this in perspective, the average entry-level executive and management salary in Japan is estimated at about 12 million even, which this household surpassed in less than a year.

▼ Literally on welfare like a boss

When the municipal government noticed the large payout, an investigation was launched and the employee responsible said that he had received “relentless threatening phone calls and e-mails” demanding that he bypass standard procedures to allot this household extra money.

The people responsible for the threats have not been reported, but according to the Sakura Ward office, two of the employee’s supervisors were also docked two months’ pay as punishment for the oversight.

Readers of the news online felt that was all well and good, but desperately wanted the main perpetrators caught and held accountable.

“Print the name of the person who made the threats and arrest them.”
“Why did they fire him? It wasn’t a mistake. He was scared for his life.”
“The real mystery is why it took them 10 months to find this.”
“That would have been 15 million yen a year, equal to the salary of management at a top company.”
“1.2 million a month, and I’m working like a sucker.”
“I wonder if this is a yakuza scam, and they’re scared to go after the beneficiary.”
“It’s ironic that a welfare recipient put someone else out of a job.”
“Whoever that was is a skilled pro at not working.”
“I understand why they fired the guy, but why isn’t the beneficiary arrested?”

This appears to still be early in the proceedings and proving that the employee was responsible was relatively easy. However, it might take some deeper investigation to determine who made the threats and if the beneficiary was even involved before any arrests can be made.

It may be a lead that the suspect here demanded Japanese yen, suggesting the work of a pro rather than previous would-be extortionists who misguidedly demanded Bitcoin from rural municipal offices.

Source: NHK News Web, CareerCross, Hachima Kiko
Top image: Pakutaso
Insert image: Pakutaso
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