• Kyodo

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Tokyo prosecutors began questioning officials of numerous companies Wednesday over their alleged bid-rigging of contracts for snow melting systems for a bullet train line being built in the Hokuriku region, sources said.

The move came after the Fair Trade Commission in September raided more than 10 companies and the government-backed Japan Railway Construction, Transport and Technology Agency over the allegation.

The firms raided include Takasago Thermal Engineering Co., Shinryo Corp., Sanki Engineering Co., Taikisha Ltd., Dai-Dan Co. and Kakimoto Co.

These companies are suspected to have rigged bids for 13 snow melting system contracts for the Hokuriku Shinkansen Line between Nagano and Ishikawa prefectures in the two years to last March, they said.

Officials of these firms have told the FTC that they had heard the planned contract prices from some officials in the government-backed agency, indicating the agency could have sponsored the alleged bid-rigging, the sources said.

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