An institute affiliated with the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry has agreed to pay about 10 million yen in total to compensate 10 computer software companies for pirating software, institute officials said Sunday.

The Institute of Energy Economics, a foundation in Tokyo, received complaints from the software companies in late August for the institute’s misuse of the computer software, the sources said.

An in-house investigation found that software used mainly for data processing and paperwork had been pirated and used on at least 200 of its computers, according to the officials.

“The exact types of software pirated are now being investigated, but we believe the persons in charge copied them without thinking clearly about what they were doing,” said Kumeo Koyuba, head of the institute’s general administration group. “We will swiftly establish rules on license-related management.”

The institute was established in 1966 and was certified as an incorporated foundation by the Ministry of International Trade and Industry, now METI.

It carries out research on the overall field of energy for the central government, including analyses and predictions on energy supply and demand.

The institute has about 200 employees, with three out of eight executive officers being former officials of MITI or METI.

In fiscal 2001, the institute received about 1.57 billion yen from METI in research funding and subsidies.