• Kyodo

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Prosecutors searched the Osaka branch of JFE Engineering Corp. and other locations Wednesday in connection with the suspected bribery of a city official over a garbage incinerator construction project.

The Osaka prosecutors also dispatched officials to JFE Engineering’s headquarters in Tokyo. The officials asked the company to hand over pertinent documents on a voluntary basis but told the firm they do not consider it as being involved in the bribery case, prosecutors said.

Eiji Tashiro, a technical manager in the Osaka Environmental Management Bureau, and Susumu Oryu, president of Shinko Denki Kogyosho, were arrested last week on suspicion of being engaged in bribery in December 1998.

JFE Engineering was formed in April through a merger of NKK Corp. and Kawasaki Steel Corp., and according to the prosecutors, NKK won the contract for an Osaka garbage incinerator project in December 1998.

NKK subcontracted part of the project to a Tokyo-based chemical company, which in May 2001 in turn subcontracted the piping, installation and other work to Oryu’s Osaka-based firm, they said.

Tashiro, 60, who was in charge of civil engineering in the bureau, introduced Shinko Denki Kogyosho as a “sub-subcontractor” to NKK and received more than 5 million yen from Oryu, 68, in return, according to the prosecutors.

They have said Tashiro and Oryu have basically owned up to the wrongdoing.

The project to build the Hirano incineration plant in Osaka was completed in March at a cost of 50.5 billion yen.

In addition to the cash bribe, Tashiro was treated by Oryu to seven golf outings from 2000 to 2002, prosecutors said. Oryu spent some 200,000 yen for the seven outings, which the prosecutors said also constituted bribes.

NKK employees played golf with Tashiro and Oryu on several occasions, they said.

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