Explanation & Apology for Former RENGO VP's Arrest in “Chu I Kyo” Case
23 April 2004
- RENGO would like to offer its sincere apologies to all our fellow workers, their friends, and to every RENGO member and also explain developments in the case of Katsutoshi Kato, former RENGO Vice President and President of the Japan Federation of Energy and Chemistry Workers Unions, who has been arrested by the Special Investigation Department of the Tokyo District Public Prosecutors Office and is now being held in custody on suspicion of bribery which allegedly took place at the Central Social Insurance Medical Council (Chu I Kyo).
- The Central Social Insurance Medical Council is a panel that deliberates and advises the Health, Labour and Welfare Minister upon the Minister's consultation on issues regarding appropriate medical treatment fees in healthcare insurance. Former RENGO Vice President Kato was a member of the panel since October 1998 and one of three members representing the labor side.
The current case alleges that five officials of the Japan Dental Association bribed the former National Federation of Health Insurance Societies (the KENPOREN) Vice President, also a labor-side member of the Central Social Insurance Medical Council, and former RENGO Vice President Kato in order to push for the inclusion of favorable conditions for dentists in the council’s report on revisions to methods used to calculate dental examination fees for fiscal years 2002 and 2004. It has been said that approximately 1.3 million yen worth money and gifts were extended to former Vice President Kato, and RENGO is given to understand that Kato himself has admitted to receiving the money and gifts.
- RENGO takes the allegations that Kato has been charged with very seriously considering it unacceptable behavior for any trade union official to engage in. RENGO considers this case to be a private matter, not one that involves the organizations of either RENGO or the Japan Federation of Energy and Chemistry Workers Unions. By the same token, however, RENGO also acknowledges its grave responsibility in both the recommending and selecting of Kato as a council member.
RENGO sincerely apologizes for an incident that cast such a significantly negative image over the whole labor movement and bestowed a strong sense of disappointment to all of its union members. We sincerely regret putting everyone in the workplace working hard day and night for the advancement of the status of workers and improvement of working conditions to such trouble.
- In response to the incident, RENGO held an emergency meeting of its high-ranking executives (President, Deputy and Vice Presidents, General and Assistant General Secretaries) and a central executive committee meeting on April 15, where it dismissed former Vice President Kato from all of his RENGO-related posts and also proceeded with arrangements for former Vice President Kato's resignation from membership at councils in which he participated, including the Central Social Insurance Medical Council. Further, while it attempts to verify the nature of the allegations, RENGO will gather together the government council members who were selected from within RENGO in order to boost member awareness as part-time public servants to whom the National Public Service Law will be applied. At the meeting, members will reflect on their actions up to this point while striving to carry out their assignments in a fair and transparent manner ultimately seeking to unify their collective will. On this basis, RENGO will strive to do its utmost in order to prevent any similar incidents from ever reoccurring in the future.