National / Crime & Legal

Sales at Kepco-linked company rose sixfold on nuclear projects

Kyodo, JIJI

A construction company involved in a scandal at Kansai Electric Power Co. increased its sales at least sixfold over the five years to August 2018 for work related to nuclear power plants, data by a credit research agency showed Saturday.

Yoshida Kaihatsu, based in Takahama, Fukui Prefecture, posted more than ¥2.1 billion in sales in the year to August 2018, up from ¥350 million in the year to August 2013, according to the data.

Investigations by tax authorities have found the company paid about ¥300 million in commission to Eiji Moriyama, a former deputy mayor of Takahama, to win projects at the town’s nuclear power station run by Kepco.

The findings about the company’s sales came a day after Kansai Electric President Shigeki Iwane said he and 19 other executives received a total of ¥320 million in money and goods from Moriyama, who died at age 90 in March, between 2011 and 2018.

Meanwhile, Kansai Electric Chairman Makoto Yagi, 69, said Saturday that he received money and goods from Moriyama from around 2006 until 2010, when he belonged to the company’s nuclear power division, contradicting Iwane’s remarks the previous day.

Yagi also said that the company plans to make public a report from an in-house investigation into the matter, saying that it would be difficult to obtain the public’s understanding if it remains undisclosed.

Moriyama “brought goods which were deemed excessive and I of course declined, but sometimes he became enraged,” Yagi said.

Yagi said he “never received” any goods after becoming president in June 2010.

Yoshida Kaihatsu won at least ¥2.5 billion worth of projects at the Takahama plant and another Kepco nuclear plant in the neighboring town of Oi, according to the credit research agency.

The company may have logged additional sales that were not identified by the agency.

A former member of the Takahama Municipal Assembly said that many people in the town are aware of the close ties between Yoshida Kaihatsu and Moriyama.

“Without Mr. Moriyama, Yoshida Kaihatsu would not have won projects related to Kansai Electric thus far,” the member said.

On Friday, the industry ministry requested Kepco make a report about the money scandal involving 20 executives, including Chairman Makoto Yagi.

The ministry made the request under the Electricity Business Law, seeing problems with the company’s system of corporate governance.

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