• Kyodo

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The Nagoya District Court on Tuesday ordered the Aichi Prefectural Government, a Tokyo-based hotel management consultancy and its head to pay about ¥57 million in damages over falsification of quake-resistance data that led to the closure and demolition of a hotel building.

Of the series of lawsuits across the country linked to now-disqualified architect Hidetsugu Aneha, this is the first time a court has held a local government responsible for failing to perform its duty by overlooking the fabrication of a building’s structural data, the plaintiff’s legal agent said.

Presiding Judge Hisashi Toda also held the other two defendants — General Management Consultant, popularly called Soken, and its head, Takeshi Uchikawa — accountable for neglecting to properly manage the design and construction of the hotel.

The three-judge panel acted on a ¥515 million damages suit filed in 2006 by Handa Denka Kogyo K.K., the operator of Center One Hotel Handa, a budget hotel in Handa, Aichi Prefecture.

Court findings showed the operator opened the hotel in 2002 after receiving hotel management guidance from Soken and certification for its construction from the prefectural government the previous year.

After data fabrication by Aneha was revealed in November 2005, the hotel operator demolished the building, which was found to be vulnerable to quakes, in February 2006. The hotel was rebuilt and reopened in April 2007.

The hotel operator argued that the prefectural government could have discovered the data fabrication easily, a claim it categorically denied.

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