• Crime & Courts

Japan Bigmotor Worker Held for Cutting Down Roadside Trees

Yomiuri Shimbun file photo
Bigmotor logo

Yokohama (Jiji Press)—Police have arrested an employee of used car dealer Bigmotor Co. for his alleged involvement in cutting down roadside trees in front of a Bigmotor store in Kanagawa Prefecture, eastern Japan.

Employee Toshiyuki Kamohara, 51, was held on Tuesday on suspicion of damaging property by cutting down the trees in front of the outlet in Kawasaki, which neighbors the Kanagawa capital of Yokohama.

Kamohara is the first Bigmotor worker that has been arrested over the scandal-tainted company’s inappropriate practice of felling roadside trees around Bigmotor stores in many parts of the country.

A member of the company’s environment improvement promotion committee, Kamohara is believed to have instructed staff at the Kawasaki outlet to cut the trees.

In a noncompulsory interview that preceded his arrest, however, he denied giving any such instruction, contradicting the objective evidence for his instructions, investigative sources said.

According to the arrest warrant, Kamohara is suspected of cutting down six azalea trees in front of the Kawasaki store in October 2022 in conspiracy with others.

The Kawasaki municipal government submitted a damage report to the prefectural police in August last year and a criminal complaint in December. It requested Bigmotor to pay ¥110,000 for restoration work, and the money has already been paid, informed sources said.

According to the National Police Agency, police in 20 prefectures including Tokyo have received 51 reports of damage apparently caused by the company’s practices of felling and killing with herbicides trees on the streets in front of Bigmotor stores.

At Bigmotor, workers have been found to have deliberately damaged vehicles to pad automobile insurance claims.