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Hazama Ando pair charged with padding expenses during Fukushima decontaminaton work

JIJI

Two employees of general contractor Hazama Ando Corp. have been indicted without arrest for alleged fraud linked to a Fukushima radiation decontamination project.

The employees, who were indicted by the Tokyo District Public Prosecutor’s Office on Thursday, are Yuichi Yamashita, 48, and Yoshiji Moro, 50, who worked at the Tohoku branch of Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc. in Sendai. Both have admitted to the allegations, investigative sources said.

According to the indictment, the two padded the accommodation costs for workers involved in the decontamination project by ¥41 million and submitted a false report listing ¥200 million in expenses to the Tamura Municipal Government, which ordered the project, between July and August 2015. They are suspected of cheating the city out of some ¥76 million, and of supplying manipulated receipts as the supporting documents for the expense report.

Hazama Ando said in June this year that it had overstated expenses by some ¥27 million in its report to Tamura and about ¥53 million in its report to Iwaki, another city in Fukushima Prefecture. The prosecutor’s office apparently opted not to pursue the case in Iwaki.

In a statement Thursday, Hazama Ando said the indictment of the employees was a serious matter but denied the contractor had systematic involvement in the misconduct.

An official of the Tamura Municipal Government said the city will consult with the prefectural and central governments on getting back the money it paid to cover the inflated accommodation costs.

The decontamination project is part of the prefecture’s efforts to recover from the March 2011 core meltdowns at the disaster-stricken Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant.