Former Yokota volunteer arrested on suspicion of fraud
November 1, 2004
YOKOTA AIR BASE, Japan — A 48-year-old Japanese man has been arrested on suspicion of fraud for posing as a Yokota Air Base employee while ordering about $14,600 worth of coats commonly used in Japanese festivals, police said.
Norimitsu Adachi of Tokyo’s Higashimurayama City was picked up Wednesday by Matsue City police, a Shimane Prefectural Police spokesman said. He is suspected of ordering, but not paying for, about 300 happi coats from a clothing store in Matsue.
The case was sent to the Matsue City Prosecutor’s Office on Friday, the police spokesman said.
Adachi worked for about eight months as a volunteer in Yokota’s 374th Airlift Wing public affairs office, assisting in community relations and providing administrative support, base officials said.
“The arrest of Mr. Adachi is unfortunate,” said Capt. David Westover, a 374th Airlift Wing spokesman. “He worked as volunteer in the wing public affairs office from September 2003 to May 2004. In May, he stopped volunteering on the base.
“We were surprised to learn of the allegations and of his arrest.”
Yokota officials won’t pursue any legal action against Adachi, Westover added.
Adachi has denied the charges, Japanese police told Kyodo News.
On Jan. 4, Adachi allegedly began contacting the clothing store’s manager via e-mail to arrange for delivery of the coats, according to police, who say they were sent to him at Yokota on March 26 and received without payment.
In the e-mails, the police spokesman said, Adachi told the manager the happi coats would be used for base events and the Air Force would pay for them.
According to Kyodo, Adachi summoned the store manager to Yokota to discuss the transaction’s details. The man believed Adachi was a base worker because Yokota has about 2,000 Japanese employees who dress in civilian attire.