A former section chief of Japan Highway Public Corp. pleaded guilty Tuesday to taking about 4.4 million yen in bribes from Omron Corp. and three other electronics companies for information about his firm’s highway facility contracts.

Nobuaki Mizukoshi, 45, entered the guilty plea during his first trial hearing before the Tokyo District Court. Prosecutors charged in their opening statement that Mizukoshi demanded cash in return for food and drink receipts.

According to prosecutors, Omron began wining and dining Mizukoshi around November 1995, and Mizukoshi began passing his receipts on to the company in spring 1996. Omron was unable to woo highway corporation officials to take up posts at the company and began losing out in competition with other firms for contracts awarded by the corporation.

Mizukoshi allegedly provided Omron with information about projects to construct information boards, according to the prosecutors. In return, Mizukoshi received cash from Omron and its competitors in a highway corporation office and elsewhere from April 1996 through February, they said.

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