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The National Police Agency has ordered prefectural police departments to award all traffic control signal maintenance orders by competitive bid.

The NPA move comes on the heels of tax evasion charges lodged against Japan Traffic Control Technology Co., a Yokohama traffic signal maintenance company. In that investigation, it came to light that the firm might have used influence peddling to gain contracts with the Yamagata, Niigata and other prefectural police forces.

During a meeting of prefectural traffic chiefs, NPA chief Yuko Sekiguchi on April 20 issued instructions to ensure clarity and fairness in awarding traffic signal and safety equipment maintenance contracts by sticking to competitive bid principles.

According to the NPA, it issued the same instructions last summer after Japan Traffic came under National Tax Agency scrutiny. However, 17 prefectural police departments awarded traffic signal maintenance orders without competitive bids, citing reasons such as a lack of other companies offering needed services. Another 27 prefectures awarded traffic control center maintenance orders without taking competitive bids for the same reason, according to the NPA.

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