• Kyodo


Miyazaki Gov. Tadahiro Ando said Saturday he will lose his job automatically at midnight Dec. 11 after the prefectural assembly adopted a no-confidence motion against him Friday over a bid-rigging scandal.

He will be stripped of his post 10 days after the resolution’s adoption unless he resigns on his own or dissolves the prefectural assembly.

“I don’t want to resign as I have said I’m innocent,” the 65-year-old Ando said. “But to dissolve the assembly would create havoc in the prefectural administration.”

He said he hopes to run in the election to pick a successor but will consult with supporters first.

Investigative sources said police plan to begin a criminal investigation into Ando as early this week on suspicion he led the illegal awarding of contracts for public works projects.

They also said police will soon arrest two senior prefectural officials, including the head of the environment and forestry division, on suspicion of involvement in the bid-rigging.

The police have already arrested the chief treasurer of the civil engineering division, who has suggested the governor played the major role in the bid-rigging last year, the sources said.

Ando was elected in 2003.

He also faces another charge, in which he is suspected of using his position to instruct Yoshifumi Nihongi, 56, president of the bid-winning company Yamato Engineering Inc., to provide funds to Shizuo Ishikawa, 68, who formerly served as a lawmaker’s secretary and was a “political adviser” to Ando.

The chief treasurer, Takashi Eto, 63, who was involved in a case of bid-rigging in November 2005, has told investigators he was acting at the instruction of Ando and has begun providing them with details of the deals.

The head of the forestry division is suspected of acting on behalf of Eto to instruct that Yamato Engineering win the contract for a bridge design project ordered by the prefecture in July.

The police believe that both Eto and the head of the forestry division functioned as go-betweens to relay the will of the governor.

While the role was played primarily by Eto last year, the forestry division chief played the same role this year, they said.

The police said Nihongi functioned as the bag man in a case in which a support group for the governor provided 50 million yen to Ishikawa, the former secretary of a lawmaker.

The police suspect the series of bid-rigging cases were organized by the governor through his subordinates with the intention of making profits for Nihongi.

Wakayama chief out

WAKAYAMA (Kyodo) Wakayama Gov. Yoshiki Kimura, arrested recently on suspicion of involvement in a bid-rigging case, left office at midnight Friday as stipulated in his statement of resignation.

Kimura, 54, had denied involvement in the bid-rigging following his arrest Nov. 15, but he recently admitted to the charge.

He stated Nov. 2 that he intended to resign Dec. 2 to take responsibility for the chaos in the administration following arrests of senior prefectural officials.

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