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Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd. Chairman Isamu Kawai has resigned to take the blame for his alleged role in a bribery scandal over a defense project, the Tokyo-based company said Tuesday.

On the same day, Kawai, who became Fuji Heavy chairman in 1996, was indicted for ordering that a lawmaker be bribed to ensure the firm would win an MSDF project to develop an aquatic plane, prosecutors said.

Kawai was arrested Dec. 1 on suspicion of bribing Yojiro Nakajima, a House of Representatives lawmaker, to help Fuji Heavy join a Maritime Self-Defense Force project to develop a next-generation US-1A search and rescue seaplane.

The company’s chairmanship will remain vacant for the time being, Fuji Heavy officials said.

Nissan Motor Co. President Yoshikazu Hanawa said Tuesday the automaker will offer full support to Fuji Heavy Industries, although his company does not plan to send its executives to fill Kawai’s position.

Nissan is Fuji Heavy Industries’ largest shareholder.

If there is a request, Nissan is prepared to do anything it can for Fuji Heavy as a brother company, even more than just sending personnel, Hanawa said in a news conference.

Both Kawai and Takeshi Tanaka, current president of Fuji Heavy, were sent from Nissan, although Hanawa claimed the personnel move was based on requests from Fuji Heavy, not because Nissan is its largest shareholder.

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