• Kyodo News


Arrested former Fukushima Gov. Eisaku Sato, during an interrogation by prosecutors, has admitted taking bribes in connection with a dam construction project ordered by the prefecture, investigative sources said Wednesday.

Investigators suspect Sato, and his younger brother, Yuji, who has also been arrested, collaborated in the bribe-taking, the sources said. Both have owned up to the allegations, they said.

Prosecutors arrested the elder Sato, 67, last month on suspicion of conspiring with his 63-year-old brother in receiving bribes from a former executive of Maeda Corp., the lead firm of a joint venture that won the project in a tender, and Mizutani Kensetsu Co., one of the venture’s subcontractors.

The governor and his brother are suspected of receiving benefits from Mizutani Kensetsu as the company paid 970 million yen to purchase 11,000 sq. meters of land from Koriyama Santo Suit, a menswear maker run by the brother, from August to September 2002 in return for their help in the joint venture’s winning the 20.6 billion yen dam project in August 2000.

The prosecutors believe the price for the land transaction was higher than prevailing market prices at that time.

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