Earlier this month, Kansai Electric Power Co. concluded that scores of its employees had received cash and gifts worth hundreds of millions of yen from an influential politician in a Fukui Prefecture town where the utility operates a nuclear power plant. The revelations by Kepco's investigative panel once again showed the dark side of Japan’s nuclear industry.

What is Kepco?

Kepco is the major utility providing electric power to the Kansai region, including Kyoto, Osaka, Nara, Hyogo, Shiga and Wakayama prefectures. With over 20,000 direct employees and 77 affiliated companies, it is one of Kansai’s largest and most influential corporations economically, but also politically. Kepco executives have long held high leadership positions in local business lobby groups such as the Kansai Economic Federation, which played a leading role in convincing local and national politicians, as well as the appropriate ministries in Tokyo, to approve and fund projects ranging from Kansai Airport to the 2025 Expo. Kepco’s largest shareholder is the city of Osaka, which owned about 7.3 percent of Kepco’s stock as of September 2019.