Moritomo Gakuen files for bankruptcy protection

Jiji Press OSAKA (Jiji Press) — Moritomo Gakuen, a school operator at the center of a controversial state land deal, filed for court protection from creditors under the Civil Rehabilitation Law on Friday.

Moritomo Gakuen, based in Osaka has estimated liabilities totaling ¥2 billion, according to a private credit research agency. The filing was made with the Osaka District Court.

The school operator drew controversy for its purchase last year of a state-owned plot of land in the city of Toyonaka in Osaka Prefecture at a price some ¥800 million lower than its assessed value.

Moritomo Gakuen acquired the land to open an elementary school but withdrew the school plan after coming under fire for the deal as well as the submission of false documents on construction costs to regulators.

Last month, Yasunori Kagoike, former head of Moritomo Gakuen, was summoned to the Diet to testify about the land deal and other issues as a sworn witness.

Earlier this month, a construction company filed a lawsuit against Moritomo Gakuen with the court, demanding overdue payments of about ¥400 million in construction costs for the elementary school.

The court approved the construction company’s request for seizure of the land and buildings of Tsukamoto Kindergarten, run by Moritomo Gakuen, and the house of Kagoike.

By filing for bankruptcy protection, Moritomo Gakuen apparently hopes to clear off its debts and pursue a turnaround.Speech

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