Over 400 Japanese individuals and companies have been identified in the Panama Papers

It is understood how large corporations with years of international reputation and integrity have used offshore banking to facilitate legitimate business. This in and of itself isn’t what is of concern, what is of concern are the 400 or more individual Japanese and companies appearing in documents released contained in the Panama Papers. The transactions after all these years have not been transparent and very few Japanese people themselves are aware of offshore banking. The immediate assumption is tax evasion, but let’s not jump to conclusions until more investigation reveals further insights into offshore banking in Panama. The Asahi Shimbun works with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) as media partners. It should be known that the Jewish financier, George Soros, funds the ICIJ.

That probably means ICIJ gave The Asahi Shimbun a tip off these leaked documents were going to be released. Of the 400 or so Japanese and companies in Japan named, it appears none of the names were of public figures. Of course, that’s because public figures use proxies. The biggest concern is that offshore banking is hiding criminal activity. The Panama-based law firm Mossack Fonseca helped the founders of Secom Co., Japan’s top security company, obscure their wealth through a web of shell corporations. Why would the owners of a Japan-based security company move assets offshore? Let’s find out.

Secom Co. has operations in Japan, United States, United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, South Korea, Taiwan, China, Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia, Singapore, and Indonesia, so maybe offshore banking facilitates better financial control? What is the tax obligation of Secom Co. operating in the countries just mentioned? As far as Secom is concerned, which is the biggest private security company in Japan,its founders, Makoto Iida and Juichi Toda, documents revealed that the purpose of the shell firms Secom Co. set up offshore was to “distribute Secom Co. stock holdings among Iida and Toda’s relatives ahead of their deaths“. Juichi Toda died in 2014.

Depending on Secom’s share price determines the amount of corporate tax Secom is required to pay. Can stock shares be manipulated to within limits of the required share price amount so as to not be obligated to corporate tax?  The main reason for offshore financial facilitation is for privacy and concealment. Any benefits legitimate or not for corporations operating offshore shell companies comes later. Another important reason for offshore financial facilitation, is so that owners can donate money to causes or organizations in secrecy who they might not be too interested in having the public find out about. Ultimately, offshore financial facilitation through a complex series of shell companies arranged by lawyers are used to shelter wealth and to avoid inheritance taxes unhampered by governments.

Source: The Asahi Shimbun

PANAMA PAPERS: Documents name 400 Japanese, but no public figures so far

April 7, 2016

Japanese doctors and professors were named in leaked documents known as the Panama Papers, but so far no leading politician or public figure has been connected to the offshore companies set up in tax havens.

About 400 individuals and companies with addresses in Japan were apparently involved in these offshore companies, according to an analysis of the documents by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ), the German newspaper Sueddeutsche Zeitung and other media partners, including The Asahi Shimbun. While the objective may have been to avoid tax payments, the individuals contacted by The Asahi Shimbun said they have not taken advantage of their positions in those companies.

The Asahi Shimbun is a partner in ICIJ, which broke the story about the Panama Papers along with the Sueddeutsche Zeitung.

ICIJ is a global network of reporters and the international journalism section of the Center for Public Integrity, a U.S. nonprofit journalism organization headquartered in Washington, D.C.

A 60-year-old doctor living in Hyogo Prefecture in western Japan became a stockholder of a company based in the British Virgin Islands in 2011 after receiving advice from a Hong Kong consulting firm.

At that time, the doctor was in the process of opening a hospital in Southeast Asia.

“I thought of moving any profits from that hospital to the company, but right now I have not been able to take advantage because the enterprise has not generated a large amount of returns,” the doctor told The Asahi Shimbun.

The doctor plans to open hospitals in other parts of Asia, and intends to use the stake in the British Virgin Islands company as a vehicle for accepting foreign investments.

In August 2012, a professor at a private medical university in Japan became the lead shareholder in another company headquartered in the British Virgin Islands. The professor was seeking investors for the development of cancer medicine.

The company was established after a Chinese investor expressed interest, and all patent rights related to any drugs developed were transferred to that company.

Once the drug is developed, the professor expects to receive between 10 percent and 20 percent of proceeds from the sale of the patent rights to a pharmaceutical company.

However, soon after the company was established, the professor could not get in contact with the Chinese investor.

At that time, Japan-China relations were deteriorating over the Japanese government’s purchase of some of the Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea from its private owner.

Also in autumn 2012, Starbucks was reported by Reuters and other media to have been “engaged in ‘gimmickry’ by using housing intellectual property units in tax havens, and then charging their subsidiaries fat royalties for using it” and to have “reduced taxable income.” It drew criticism from the general public in Britain.

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