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A construction company linked to a late former deputy mayor of Takahama, Fukui Prefecture, at the center of a money scandal involving Kansai Electric Power Co. received orders worth at least ¥3 billion directly or indirectly from the Kepco group over four years, it was learned Wednesday.

In the four years from September 2014, the construction firm, Yoshida Kaihatsu, based in the town that hosts a Kepco-run nuclear plant, won orders from the power company and subsidiaries, according to Yoshida Kaihatsu’s engineering work records.

Yoshida Kaihatsu secured a number of orders working as a subcontractor for major general contractors, including for land preparation and road improvement related to Kepco’s Takahama nuclear power station and its Oi nuclear plant in Oi, also in Fukui.

Kepco, based in Osaka, announced last week that 20 of its executives, including President Shigeki Iwane and Chairman Makoto Yagi, received a total of ¥320 million worth of cash and goods between 2011 and 2018 from Eiji Moriyama, former deputy mayor of Takahama, who died in March this year.

An inspection by the Kanazawa Regional Taxation Bureau in Ishikawa Prefecture, which borders Fukui, has found that Yoshida Kaihatsu had provided Moriyama with about ¥300 million as commission partly for its successful bid for nuclear plant-related engineering work.

In particular, Yoshida Kaihatsu was found to have received a ¥150-million warehouse construction order from a Kepco unit for which Moriyama had served as part-time adviser for about 30 years.

According to a private credit research company Yoshida Kaihatsu’s annual sales shot up in recent years, reaching ¥2.18 billion in the year to August 2018, compared with ¥350 million in the year to August 2013 and some ¥1 billion in the year to August 2015.

The firm had faced a drop in nuclear plant-related orders after the March 2011 disaster at Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc.’s tsunami-stricken Fukushima No. 1 plant.

But the company has recently been receiving growing numbers of orders linked to safety measures at idled nuclear power reactors ahead of their expected restart of operations, according to the credit research firm.

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