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A former deputy director of the Defense Agency’s Central Procurement Office may have improperly pressed a communications equipment supplier to hire two retired Defense Agency officials, sources said Tuesday.

The Tokyo District Public Prosecutor’s Office is investigating the case, suspecting the 59-year-old former deputy head asked the company for jobs in return for reducing the repayment of an overcharge to the agency.

Authorities suspect the official involved may have committed breach of trust, they said. According to sources, the agency found early in April 1994 that Toyo Communication Equipment Co. overcharged the agency 2.4 billion yen from 1989 to 1993 when supplying communication equipment such as devices to distinguish between friendly and hostile aircraft.

During the repayment assessment talks, the company allegedly asked the deputy director to reduce the repayment amount to less than 1 billion yen. Meanwhile, the deputy director asked the company to hire a 66-year-old former counselor and a 57-year-old former Technical Research and Development Institute executive, sources said.

At the request of the former deputy head, the Central Procurement Office made a new repayment assessment and reduced the amount to 874 million yen, sources said. The office decided to cut the amount to be refunded by the Toyo Communication after the former deputy head insisted on the reduction, the sources said Tuesday.

The official had said in the meeting that the president of the Tokyo-based equipment firm would have to step down if denied the reduction, they said.

The company later hired the two Defense Agency retirees as extra part-time advisers. “I think we hired them to make up (for overcharging the agency),” a company executive said. “When I was told to go to Toyo Communication Equipment, I also was told that the company is problematic. I didn’t know (about the job request).”

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