Kinki Nippon Tourist Pres. to Resign over Scandal

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Kinki Nippon Tourist Co. President Masahiko Takaura announces his resignation Wednesday in Tokyo.

Tokyo (Jiji Press)—Kinki Nippon Tourist Co. President Masahiko Takaura will resign on Aug. 31 over a scandal in which the company overcharged local governments in Japan for COVID-19 vaccination-related operations, its parent, KNT-CT Holdings Co., said Wednesday.

Meanwhile, KNT-CT President Akimasa Yoneda will voluntarily return 20 pct of his monthly pay for three months.

The group intends to clarify management responsibility for the scandal, following a report it received from an investigative committee of outside experts on Tuesday.

At a press conference in Tokyo on Wednesday, Yoneda apologized again for the scandal and vowed to “strengthen the management system under the new leadership.”

Takaura will be replaced by Shuichi Uryu, currently president of Kinki Nippon Tourist Blue Planet Co., on Sept. 1.

According to KNT-CT, the scandal is now believed to have affected up to around 50 local governments, down from its previous estimate of over 80, with the total amount of overcharges put at up to ¥900 million, down from some ¥1.47 billion.

Of the total amount, about ¥80 million has been refunded to eight local governments.

Four employees involved in the overcharging scandal were given disciplinary dismissals on Friday, including a former Kinki Nippon Tourist branch head who was arrested and indicted for defrauding local governments of outsourcing fees.

KNT-CT said it will work to prevent a recurrence and reform its corporate culture, including through the launch of a compliance reform headquarters, after the investigative committee report pointed out that the scandal was caused by “a disregard for compliance.”