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Iodine scam

October 14, 2014

Official arrested over iodine stockpile failure


Oct. 14, 2014 - Updated 08:47 UTC+2

Japanese police have arrested a former prefectural official on suspicion of forging documents to conceal not having purchased iodine tablets to prepare for a possible nuclear accident.

The suspect, Junichi Ito, handled medical and pharmaceutical affairs for the government of Niigata Prefecture in central Japan.

In April, the prefecture was found to have failed to procure more than 1.3 million iodine tablets for over a year. The tablets are said to protect the thyroid gland from radiation exposure.

The prefecture said Ito concealed the failure to make the purchase. It has filed a criminal complaint against him.

Police say Ito cut out supervisors' seals from other documents and used them to create a false purchase reports.

The prefecture quotes him as saying he forged the documents because he was afraid of reprimand.

Niigata Governor Hirohiko Izumida said the prefecture will cooperate with the police investigation and take steps to prevent a recurrence.

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