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Kansai Electric gift scandal extends to Kyoto branch

13 Comments

Managers of Kansai Electric Power Co's Kyoto branch received gifts worth 2.6 million yen from a former town official and allowed the office to place orders with a construction company that had close links to the official without the bidding process, the utility said.

Three former vice presidents of the Kyoto branch received cash and gift coupons from Eiji Moriyama, the late deputy mayor of Takahama, Fukui Prefecture, in the expanding massive gift scandal involving the utility and the former official of the town housing one of the company's nuclear power plants.

Kansai Electric had placed eight "special orders" between September 2014 and December 2017 with Yoshida Kaihatsu, which had close connections with Moriyama, without tendering a bid.

The construction firm, based in Takahama, took orders including those for a company dormitory and power distribution stations in Fukui Prefecture and northern Kyoto Prefecture. Moriyama lived in Kyoto city before dying in March at age 90.

Kansai Electric concluded in a report of its internal probe released last Wednesday that the three former vice presidents did not breach internal rules and their behavior was not inappropriate.

A total of 20 people at the Osaka-based utility are known to have been given cash and gifts, including shopping coupons and gold coins, worth 318.45 million yen over a number of years by Moriyama, former deputy mayor of Takahama which has heavily relied on Kansai Electric's nuclear plant economically.

The recipients revealed initially were mostly those in the nuclear power business but the recent additional disclosure shows those in other operations were involved in the gifting.

The three were among the 20 people revealed by Kansai Electric to have received gifts. The company declined to disclose the names of the three.

Six of the 20 people, meanwhile, returned gifts worth 159.08 million yen in February last year, shortly after tax authorities launched a formal investigation, sources familiar with the matter said Saturday.

The six included Chairman Makoto Yagi and then-Executive Vice President Hideki Toyomatsu, the sources said. The gifts were returned after the Kanazawa Taxation Regional Bureau opened an investigation in January last year into Yoshida Kaihatsu.

The widening money scandal has re-exposed collusion between Japan's nuclear industry and government officials. At a press conference on Wednesday, Yagi disclosed that Moriyama began offering even more gifts following the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami in northeastern Japan, which triggered the Fukushima nuclear crisis.

Out of the 318.45 million yen, Toyomatsu, who was head of the utility's nuclear power division, received one of the biggest sums -- 110.57 million yen.

The taxation bureau found that Yoshida Kaihatsu had created slush funds by booking fictitious subcontracting fees and had provided a 300 million yen commission to Moriyama.

The bureau searched Moriyama's home several months after beginning its probe and found a large amount of cash and gifts, with memos confirming the six had returned them.

The authorities verified that the six had received some 180 million yen in total, of which a portion has not been returned.

Yagi said at the press conference that they returned the gifts when they did because "it became an environment in which (Moriyama) would accept them."

The utility said the executives had been trying to return the gifts but could not as Moriyama had refused to accept them and became angry.

Moriyama was deeply involved in the bidding process and construction of the Nos. 3 and 4 reactors at the Takahama nuclear plant, which began operation in 1985, according to Kansai Electric. He served as deputy mayor from 1977 to 1987.

After retiring from the municipal government, he worked for Kanden Plant Corp, a subsidiary of the utility.

© KYODO

©2019 GPlusMedia Inc.

13 Comments
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why they call it gift ? its called bribe

9 ( +9 / -0 )

Dont think anyone is surprised that Nuclear village ( or J-Inc generally) is riddled with corruption. But hey this is Japanese culture of " giving" so a few fake bows and mlushiwake gozaimasens will fix it.... worst possible outcome will be a golden parachute exit or two.....Now if there was a foreig executive involved on the other hand .....

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Bent nails are useless. Sealed bids for contract works on a fixed day and time. No knowledge before hand giving advantages over another company.

Fry the corruption.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Is anyone surprised? This is going to be dragged out until everyone gets bored and gets distracted by something else... Or they find a foreigner to blame

3 ( +4 / -1 )

They'll be surprised at what they'll find if they keep digging. I'm sure these gift scandals have ties to companies all over Japan from Hokkaido to Kyushu. Most likely these nefarious bribes have ties to people's within the current majority LDP government as well.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Is it called gift scandal in developed countries and bribe scandal is underdeveloped nations?

2 ( +2 / -0 )

I AM not even surprised. I know some kyoto people for 25 years. this kind of actions for kyoto people is just like eating rice.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Dinesh, nope, in most developed countries it would be called what it is, outright bribery. There would also be police investigations and prosecutions. I will not pre-judge what will happen in Japan but wait and see, with a modicum of cynicism!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

why they call it gift?

@Nobnaga

Bribes have such a bad meaning and would anger too many people over the fact that the company won't be prosecuted. If you call it gifts, then it doesn't sound as serious and the government can wash their hands clean of the situation.

Aalso, I'm pretty sure that this "gift" bribes are a fundamental part of the company culture and every branch takes part in it.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Disgusting, This is a clear example of kickback and a serious crime for a company engaged in nuclear power.

It undermines public trust in nuclear energy. Safety could have been compromised. Consumers are burdened with higher bills by shouldering the cost of the expensive cost of contracts.

Where are the prosecutors?

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Gift scandal? It's called graft and kickbacks

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Kansai Electric concluded in a report of its internal probe released last Wednesday that the three former vice presidents did not breach internal rules and their behavior was not inappropriate.

Absolute joke and makes me sick!!

4 ( +4 / -0 )

a polite bow and all will be forgiven

3 ( +3 / -0 )

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