Asahi: NJ overstayers finding housing through name laundering ads


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Hi Blog. Continuing this mini-series in the uncovered permutations of NJ crime. Asahi reports that overstaying NJ involved in other types of crime are finding housing through a guarantor name laundering scheme.

Again, we’re getting another article (same as yesterday’s blog) just reporting the facts of the case (without resorting to quoting some “expert” about how this is indicative of NJ or Chinese character etc.). And it does report that this laundering is going through a Japanese (and includes his name). All good. Ironically, it seems as though it may be difficult to prosecute the guarantor for fraud (the NJ, however, would lose his housing contract). So punishment looks a tad one-sided.  Again, there is a strong tendency to punish the employee not the employer, the user not the broker, as happens surprisingly often, say, for employers of overstayers and human traffickers.  It’s the NJ which gets it in the neck.

Anyway, the guarantor system in Japan is a flawed one. We have people of any nationality unable to rent a place without a guarantor, and landlords all too often refuse to rent to a NJ even with a guarantor.  It’s unsurprising to me that NJ would be finding a way around the system (they gotta live somewhere) and J brokers profiting from it. I’m just hoping that things like this won’t be further fodder for saying that NJ renters are worthy of suspicion (when this guarantor brokerage system is the subject of this article; after all, the system wouldn’t fly without a Japanese guarantor). To me (and again, this is not to diminish the crimes these perps are committing), Asahi reporting in such detail on the other crimes being committed by the NJ is a skosh superfluous to the fraud cases at hand.  

Glad that the quality reportage is improving, in any case.  Arudou Debito in Sapporo

Ads tout identity-lending for foreigners
2009 Feb 3
Courtesy of MS

Many illegal foreigners in Japan are finding housing through thriving services that lease Japanese names, provide fake documents and are openly advertised, police said.

The advertisements can be found in abundance in Chinese-language papers in Japan. But legal experts say there is little authorities can do to regulate such services.

Some suspects who have bought Japanese aliases through these services have been linked to other crimes, such as theft and drug dealing.

The scheme of one identity broker was uncovered after Kanagawa prefectural police arrested a 33-year-old Chinese man involved in more than 60 break-ins in June 2008. Investigators found a lease contract for the man’s apartment in Yokohama with a Japanese name on it.

The investigation led police to Shizuo Ito, a 41-year-old trading company executive in Tokyo’s Toshima Ward. He had been placing advertisements in Chinese language newspapers saying he could provide guarantor services for as little as 6,000 yen.

The ads also mentioned “names” for registration.

Ito was arrested and indicted on charges of faking certificates of income.

According to police, Ito introduced Japanese alias providers to foreigners who called about his advertisements. He produced falsified income certificates with the corporate seal of a fake company for the name lenders and submitted them to real estate companies.

To give the appearance that the fake company actually existed, Ito used a telephone answering service to deal with inquiries from the realtor, police said.

Once the realtor was convinced that the Japanese had sufficient income, the illegal foreigner using the alias could move in.

Using the scheme, Ito had fixed at least 200 contracts for apartment leases since November 2006. He amassed about 14 million yen in profits by collecting a one-time fee equivalent to 80 percent of the foreign client’s monthly rent, police said.

Ito said he came up with the idea after seeing name-lending advertisements in sports newspapers, according to police.

Kanagawa prefectural police last month arrested 27 foreign nationals, including 23 Chinese, illegally residing in Tokyo and three neighboring prefectures who had used Ito’s services.

Of the 27 suspects, aged between 27 and 47, three Chinese men were arrested in an apartment in Ichikawa, Chiba Prefecture. Police found what they believed were stolen electronic appliances, such as a personal computer and a digital camera, as well as a blow torch that may have been used in break-ins.

An Iranian suspect, believed to have been a drug smuggler, was also caught in Yamato, Kanagawa Prefecture.

In addition, police confiscated a number of false passports, alien registration cards and certificates of employment in the raids. Although some of the suspects were working in snack bars, izakaya pubs and construction sites, about half had no records of employment.

Police are trying to determine how they entered the country and what they did here.

Masayuki Enmei, a lawyer well-versed in lease contracts, said the act of renting a home using another person’s identity is prohibited under Civil Law as unauthorized subleasing, and it could provide ample grounds for the landlord to terminate a contract.

However, since the amount of damage caused to the landlord is unclear, there may be insufficient grounds to incriminate the name-leasing as fraud under the Criminal Law, Enmei said.(IHT/Asahi: February 3,2009)

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