• Kyodo News

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The chairman of general contractor Sato Kogyo Corp. was indicted Thursday over his involvement in rigging bids for a public sewerage system project ordered by the Fukushima Prefecture, Tokyo prosecutors said.

Katsumi Sato, 67, stands accused of prearranging contractor bids to help a joint venture between his company, based in Fukushima, and Tokyo-based contractor Tokyu Construction Co. win the contract by urging other participants to offer higher bid prices than the joint venture in August 2004, the probe found.

Masao Tsuji, 59, a key supporter of former Fukushima Gov. Eisaku Sato, has already been indicted over the bid-rigging, while the former governor’s brother, Yuji, 63, and two others were arrested for alleged involvement.

Eisaku Sato tendered his resignation Wednesday to the prefectural assembly in order “to take moral responsibility and to restore public trust in the prefectural administration as soon as possible.”

Yuji Sato’s firm obtained a 400 million yen loan from Maeda Corp., a Tokyo-based contractor, in 2001 as a “reward” for his support for Maeda’s successful bid for a dam project ordered by Fukushima Prefecture, sources said.

Prosecutors are questioning Yuji Sato about whether he considered the loan a reward, and asking Eisaku Sato if he was aware of any of this.

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