Kinki Nippon Tourist Raided over Vaccination Work Overcharging

The Yomiuri Shimbun
The building that houses a branch of Kinki Nippon Tourist Co. is seen in Osaka on Thursday.

OSAKA/TOKYO (Jiji Press) — Osaka prefectural police on Thursday raided offices of Kinki Nippon Tourist Co. on suspicion that the major travel agency overcharged municipalities over COVID-19 vaccination-related operations outsourced from them, according to investigative sources.

The police raided the company’s branches in the cities of Osaka and Shizuoka on the suspicion of fraud, the sources said.

At an earnings briefing held in Tokyo on Thursday, Akimasa Yoneda, president of KNT-CT Holdings Co., the parent of Kinki Nippon Tourist, apologized for causing trouble over the overcharging issue and pledged to fully cooperate with the police investigation. “We’ll do all that can be done to regain trust, through reforming corporate culture,” the president said.

KNT-CT said the same day that its probe has so far confirmed overcharging by Kinki Nippon Tourist by a total of around ¥1.47 billion.

The parent company has deducted the overcharged amount from its consolidated sales for the fiscal year that ended in March, and has booked an extraordinary loss of ¥900 million for investigation expenses and other costs.

KNT-CT said that 63 municipalities were subject to the overcharging, of which three including Osaka Prefecture has been given their money back. It had initially explained that some 80 municipalities may have been overcharged by up to ¥1.6 billion.

In fiscal 2022, the company logged a consolidated net profit of ¥11.7 billion, against a net loss of ¥5.7 billion the previous year. It turned a profit for the first time in four years, thanks to a recovery in travel demand and an increase in projects outsourced to the group.