The police have searched the home of the former chairman of failed department store, Sogo Co.

They searched the home of Hiroo Mizushima, 89, in Tokyo on suspicion that he tried to hide personal assets from creditors. Sources say that Mizushima, who was hospitalised last weekend, will not be arrested due to his age and ill health.

The failed department store applied to the Tokyo District Court for protection under the Civil Rehabilitation Law on July 12 last year.

Mizushima personally guaranteed an 11bn yen loan from the Industrial Bank of Japan to Sogo to finance the opening of a department store in Tokyo.

He is suspected of preventing the bank from seizing his assets by withdrawing 55m yen from his personal bank account on July 14 last year.

Mizushima has told police that he did not withdraw the money to hide assets but to hire lawyers.