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The revelation that Kansai Electric Power Co. executives had received a total of ¥320 million in money and gifts from a former deputy mayor of a town hosting one of its nuclear power plants has raised suspicions of collusive ties between a nuclear plant operator and host municipality. Kepco insists that no favors were provided in return for the gifts, but the former deputy mayor had in turn been paid ¥300 million from a local construction firm that won at least ¥2.5 billion in Kepco’s nuclear power plant-related contracts. The power company needs to disclose all relevant facts in the case, which casts doubts over transparency in the nuclear power business.

Eiji Moriyama, who died in March at the age of 90, was known as an influential figure in Takahama, Fukui Prefecture, who developed close ties with Kepco while serving as deputy mayor of the town — the site for the firm’s Takahama nuclear power plant — for a decade through 1988. After retiring as a town official, he served as both executive and advisor to contractors of Kepco’s nuclear power plant operation, and there are reports that he may have wielded influence in winning orders from the firm.

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