Withered trees in Bigmotor lots add new trouble to insurance fraud scandal

Roadside trees were allegedly being viewed by the car dealer as an obstruction to their displayed vehicles

Withered trees in Bigmotor lots add new trouble to insurance fraud scandal

Motor & Fleet

By Kenneth Araullo

As the hearings looking into Bigmotor’s insurance fraud scandal continue, a recent revelation involving withered trees is looking to pose another bout of troubles for the disgraced car dealer.

Local authorities across Japan said that roadside trees in front of numerous Bigmotor outlets were found to have died unnaturally and have begun looking into the case. The issue was brought up during the car dealer’s conference a few days ago, as speculations emerge that Bigmotor saw the trees as obstructions to the visibility of their displayed vehicles and had them withered on purpose.

According to a report from The Japan Times, a Bigmotor senior official said that there were instances where chemical herbicides were “carelessly” used on weeds, which then affected the street trees. However, the official also said that such practices stopped a decade ago.

Several municipalities have spoken out after this new development emerged. The Sapporo municipal government is planning on conducting soil analysis after consulting the police as three trees in front of two Bigmotor outlets in the area are found to be weakening. Earlier this spring, another tree in front of one of the shops had to be chopped down as it had died and posed a risk to pedestrians.

The Fukuoka prefectural government said that it will consider filing a police complaint if herbicide components are found in the soil near the area’s Bigmotor shops. Meanwhile, the Gunma prefectural government has already filed a complaint after 17 trees died in front of the dealership’s store in Ota.

It is worth noting that a Bigmotor store in Higashisumiyoshi, Osaka had opposed attempts to replant trees in front of it back in 2020 and 2021 after the existing trees withered. As a result, Osaka’s prefectural and city governments have decided to test the soil in four of the car dealer’s locations.

Government sources close to the matter said that the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport, and Tourism has since instructed all regional bureaus to investigate all roadside trees around Bigmotor outlets near roads managed by the central government.

Meanwhile, three major Japanese insurers are also currently in hot water because of their close connection to Bigmotor while the insurance fraud was ongoing. Sompo, one of the insurers, has since apologized for not taking reported suspicious activity seriously when confronted with evidence by one of its employees.

What are your thoughts on this story? Please feel free to share your comments below.

Related Stories

Keep up with the latest news and events

Join our mailing list, it’s free!