• Jiji


Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corp. said Tuesday that it has set up a panel to investigate a scandal in which executives of the company wined and dined senior officials of the Japanese communications ministry.

The four-member panel is headed by Sadayuki Sakakibara, former chairman of the Japan Business Federation (Keidanren) and currently independent outside director of NTT.

The other three members are lawyers — Takashi Iida, NTT’s independent outside auditor; Tetsuo Ito, former deputy head of the Supreme Public Prosecutor’s Office; and Hiroshi Inoue, former head of the Fukuoka High Public Prosecutor’s Office.

NTT said that after receiving the panel’s report, the company will disclose it promptly and take necessary measures.

It has been revealed that NTT group executives, such as President Jun Sawada, have dined with high-ranking communications ministry officials, including Yasuhiko Taniwaki, former vice minister for policy coordination, four times in and after 2018. The ministry has removed Taniwaki from the post and plans to investigate whether other officials have been wined and dined by the NTT side.

On Monday, Sawada is slated to give testimony as an unsworn witness on the issue at a meeting of the House of Councilors while the ministry is expected to make an interim report on its internal probe.

Toshio Iwamoto, former president of NTT Data Corp. and currently consultant of the company, was also found to have dined with communications ministry officials.

NTT Data also said Tuesday that it has launched an investigation panel, led by lawyer Rieko Sato, who serves as NTT Data independent outside director.

Among other domestic telecommunications companies, KDDI Corp. said that it has rules on dinner meetings between officials of the company and people outside the carrier.

SoftBank Corp. said that it holds a breakfast meeting between its officials and senior communications ministry officials once a year, with costs for the meal not exceeding ¥5,000 per head, equally shared by both sides.

Rakuten Inc. said that its officials have never entertained government officials in an inappropriate manner.

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