Kagoshima police chief denies covering up illegal activities

KAGOSHIMA – The prefectural police chief, accused by a whistleblower of concealing the criminal acts of his officers, again denied the allegations before a commission of inquiry on June 11.

“I took the necessary actions and never gave any instructions to cover up anything,” Akiteru Nogawa told the prefectural assembly committee investigating the allegations.

The 10-member commission questioned Nogawa after his former subordinate, Takashi Honda, was arrested last month on charges of leaking internal documents to a journalist.

Honda, the former head of the police prefecture’s community safety division, accuses Nogawa of failing to investigate police officers suspected of secretly filming a woman in a toilet and stalking another woman.

At a court hearing on June 5, Honda, 60, said he disclosed the information because he was “disappointed that the prefectural police hid inconvenient truths.”

According to Honda, Nogawa was reluctant to investigate the officers, giving weak justifications such as “giving them one last chance” and “letting them off the hook for now.”

Honda sent internal documents to a journalist in Sapporo in late March, shortly after he left the police force.

The documents included the name and surname and other personal data of the stalking victim, who did not want her identity to be made public.

Nogawa pledged to the commission to restore confidence in the prefectural police as soon as possible.

However, amid growing public outrage over the allegations, the commission made the rare decision to hold a follow-up session at a later date to investigate the matter further.

(This article was written by Hayato Kaji and Kenta Iijima.)