Kansai Electric Power Company chairman Makoto Yagi has resigned over a scandal which saw top executives receive cash and gifts from the mayor of a town where one of the company's nuclear plants is based Photo: AFP
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Kansai Electric chairman resigns over gift scandal; president to follow after 3rd party report

32 Comments
By Yoshikzau Tsuno

The chairman of a Japanese power firm resigned Wednesday after admitting he and other executives received money and gifts worth around 300 million yen from a town hosting one of their nuclear plants.

The money and gifts were given to some 20 executives over the course of seven years from 2011 by the late deputy mayor of Takahama town, where Kansai Electric (KEPCO) has a nuclear plant.

"I and (KEPCO president Shigeki) Iwane have decided to step down to clarify our management responsibility over the situation," KEPCO Chairman Makoto Yagi told reporters after a board meeting.

Yagi's resignation is effective immediately, but Iwane will stay on until an independent probe into the scandal is complete later this year, he said.

The gifts came to light after investigations by tax authorities into the late deputy mayor Eiji Moriyama.

According to local media, tax agency investigations found that Moriyama received a 300-million-yen commission from a local construction company hired for projects at the Takahama plant.

Moriyama reportedly told tax authorities he had decided to give KEPCO officials the money in the form of both cash and gifts as a token of his appreciation.

Yagi and Iwane apologized after the scandal came to light, but initially refused to step down.

They changed their mind after being heavily criticized and realizing the damage being done to the public's trust in KEPCO, executives said.

On Wednesday Iwane apologized again, and said he will assume a "last mission" of revealing the whole truth of the scandal by cooperating with the independent probe committee, which is due to issue a report in December.

The executives have said they planned to return the gifts and money "at the right time".

"We were afraid our relationship with the local government would be damaged" if the gifts and money were rejected, Iwane has said.

It was not immediately clear if KEPCO, which runs the Takahama nuclear plant with four reactors in central Fukui prefecture, will face sanctions over the incident.

© 2019 AFP

©2019 GPlusMedia Inc.


32 Comments
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There should be a police car at the entrance to take them into detention for betrayal of the public trust!

11 ( +11 / -0 )

There should be a police car at the entrance to take them into detention for betrayal of the public trust!

Agreed. The reason there isn't is because they are Japanese. Had they been non-Japanese, they'd be in detention as we speak.

10 ( +11 / -1 )

It only took them how long to do the right thing? I guess they bowed low and long enough to avoid prosecution, but not low and long enough to avoid resignation.

9 ( +9 / -0 )

Gifts?!.. The correct word is bribes.

This is bribery on a massive scale.

8 ( +8 / -0 )

Does anyone believe this?

The executives have said they planned to return the gifts and money "at the right time".

"We were afraid our relationship with the local government would be damaged" if the gifts and money were rejected, Iwane has said.

I have to agree the police should be hauling them off for 22 days of interrogation. And meanwhile Ghosn is still incarcerated....

8 ( +9 / -1 )

> "We were afraid our relationship with the local government would be damaged" if the gifts and money were rejected, Iwane has said.

Sure they were!

Either they were deeply corrupt or blatantly stupid- maybe a mix of the two is correct?

Where is the oversight in Japan to protect the consumers that inevitably become damaged in Japan as a result of overpricing or more pertinently nuclear accidents?

6 ( +6 / -0 )

.

These guys never learn.

People in power become toxic.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

And are they in jail right now? No? I mean, they admitted they never reported all that money/gifts so we already know they're guilty so... Oh right, they're Japanese and I'm Japan everyone gets treated equally under the book of the law...

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Gifts? Lol, the level of corruption in Japan is quite cartoonish. Spade is never called a spade and the faster issues are swept under the rug,the better. No accountability at all. What a sick joke!!

4 ( +4 / -0 )

And these guys aren't cuffs because? Oh right they're Japanese and Japanese discriminate on a regular basis.

jApAnEsE JUstiCe

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Ghosn waiting for what looks more like a show trial from China than any real democracy. All these bowing execs who could all be jailed when they walk away must just laugh and laugh

If Japan really did start cleaning up by Western standards it would be a wonder how many would be jailed?

4 ( +4 / -0 )

So the law is different for Japanese and non Japanese, right?

That’s the only conclusion I can make from this news as the article doesn’t state anything about these people being arrested or at the very least investigated for fraud, tax fraud, bribery etc.

I thought the Ghosn case set a new precedent in relation to corporate fraud. It seems not.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

The other form of "gift-giving" here is the 'amakudari' or descent from heaven, where a lowly paid bureaucrat or politician is promised a highly-paid job as some sort of advisor or consultant with a company, in return for taking care of them, approving their requests and smoothing their business during his working life. NRA (Nuclear Regulatory Authority) bureaucrats went to 'work' for nuclear power utilities, with the added bonus that their juniors would carry on the tradition, and approve their former seniors' further requests, as how could they turn them down. Not a bribe, just a delayed gift!

3 ( +3 / -0 )

one of the lamest excuses for criminal behavior I have ever heard - "We were afraid our relationship with the local government would be damaged" if the gifts and money were rejected, Iwane has said.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Exactly - resigning they will still collect retirement benefits equal to several years of their fat salaries!

The level of corruption is unimaginable ! Gifts? And mayor getting a commission! Well he's dead and clean - he passed all the money to the executives. And they were afraid not to accept... Pathetic!

In the same time the workers of both construction company and at the nuclear plant were underpaid and putting long hours.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

The executives have said they planned to return the gifts and money "at the right time"

The 'right time' being in a couple of months when the media storm blows over and they can convince their pals to let them keep it in exchange for a 10% salary cut for 3 months and a deep bow.

The shareholders need to realize that this is company money that they have embezzled. Charge them.

"We were afraid our relationship with the local government would be damaged" if the gifts and money were rejected, Iwane has said.

Fine. Accept the money, be transparent and put it on the company accounts!

2 ( +2 / -0 )

They should not be given the opportunity to resign. They should be fired and all their benefits cut. They are guilty of corporate grafting and bribery. Obviously, these are not serious offenses in Japan Inc.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

They should return that money to the people. For once I agree with Yubaru "There should be a police car at the entrance to take them into detention for betrayal of the public trust!" But in Japan once again it just goes to show crime pays especially if your mega-rich!! No justice for the people. I seriously doubt that money came from one other mega rich to another, but from the hard working everyday folks getting pushed around by the mega-rich. Why is there no media outcry or the Highest level prosecutor going after them to put them in prison and return All of the money to the people.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

It’s nice to be a member of the elite. Disappoint people, destroy confidence, but the ol’ Boys club just give you a wink and let you go. This is only going to get worse. With a growing foreign population and dwindling native population, the elite will only harden. Where’s the justice? Sigh.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

When all else fails, do the right thing...

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Eve: "I was afraid my relationship with the serpent would be damaged"

2 ( +2 / -0 )

At least this one is resigning but he is still free, what about tampering with evidence while he's free. Excuses that being used in Japan to hold people in detention for several months by using multiple charges.

There should be a police car at the entrance to take them into detention for betrayal of the public trust!

This case becoming public in last month but where's all those cars with people taking boxes of evidences?

2 ( +2 / -0 )

What about the other 18? Are these two just going to steal the spotlight so the others can slink away?

2 ( +2 / -0 )

bowing and resigning sure has come a long way from disembowelment to atone for ones misdeeds

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Bribes and over the top entertainment is part of doing business with Japanese local governments. You have close to zero chance of winning bids and may even experience administrative delays in non-government businesses if you don’t pay them off.

I wonder who KEPCO pissed off to have this come public.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

"..... to return the gifts and money "at the right time" .....!

Returning gifts after 7 years ... well, hope it was canned stuff, like tuna, crabs and so on.

But since those kind of gifts are common practice in Japan .........

........ a deep bow and the usual mumbling and stuttering should do it.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Not good enough, there are 18 more to go. all people involves in the case must resign to take responsibility as a good Japanese example.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

The executives have said they planned to return the gifts and money "at the right time".

For “right time”, read never, had this scandal not upset the apple cart.

"We were afraid our relationship with local government would be damaged" if the gifts and money were rejected, Iwane has said.

For “gifts and money”, read bribes.

Once again, greed obsessed elitists, bereft of elementary common sense succumbing to temptation. The scary thing is, it’s just the tip of an iceberg of graft and corruption that makes “greed is good” Gordon Gecko look like Albert Schweitzer.

All that’s missing is the standard refrain whenever they’re caught with their fingers in the cookie jar to “reflect on their mistakes in order to prevent any recurrence and win back public trust”

1 ( +1 / -0 )

So a construction company appreciated the work given to them by Kepco, gave the dep. mayor an omiyage, who felt should be passed on to Kepco execs, who felt they couldn't dishonour the council and just accepts the omiyage. This is a scandal?

Seriously, what is Japan coming to? It's not a bribe, it's a token of appreciation!

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Resigning is one thing but what about the money he took does he keep it? hmmm

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Ahh, the rancid stench of corruption that emanates from these Old boys club insider wheeler dealers presiding over a cesspit of systemic graft, whose mantra is you scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours. Dedication measured by their finesse at soft pedaling serious safety deficiencies at nuclear facilities and stymying interlopers such as Ghosn with concocted confabulations. Masters of the Universe who guard the ramparts of fortress Japan and are guaranteed a stay out of gaol card for services rendered.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I have to agree the police should be hauling them off for 22 days of interrogation. And meanwhile Ghosn is still incarcerated....

(1) Why haul them in? They have already confessed in an extremely public venue. Why should the taxpayer house them for 22 days at public expense?

(2) Ghosn is not still incarcerated. He is out on bail.

Using the term bribery here is inappropriate. Bribery as the term is generally used involves an individual or a corporation giving something to a public official to gain favorable treatment.

This is a case of a public official giving something of value to employees of a private company.

Taking the gifts from the local official is certainly questionable behavior but whether it is bribery as legally defined is another issue.

I would also note that my father had a small construction company in the Chicago area. Everyone, and I mean everyone very literally, gave gifts. Nothing all that Japanese about this case. Gifts are the oil that lubricates a number of industries and not just in Japan.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

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