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KEPCO execs at Oi nuclear plant also received gifts from neighboring town official

Eiji Moriyama, former deputy mayor of Takahama, Fukui Prefecture.

Kansai Electric Power Co. (KEPCO) executives who worked for its Oi nuclear power station in Fukui Prefecture during the 1980s to 1990s received money and gifts from a former official of a neighboring town hosting another of the utility's nuclear plants, the Mainichi Shimbun has learned.

Two former KEPCO executives revealed to the Mainichi that they received gifts from Eiji Moriyama, the late former deputy mayor of Takahama, Fukui Prefecture, which hosts the utility's Takahama nuclear power plant. The revelation emerged after it came to light that KEPCO executives had accepted massive amounts of cash and valuables from Moriyama in a payoff scandal.

One of the two former KEPCO executives speaking to the Mainichi belonged to the Oi nuclear plant in the 1980s and had authority over orders for construction projects related to the facility. When he took up the position, Moriyama visited him and handed him money and gifts, according to the former official.

At that time, companies associated with Moriyama outside Fukui Prefecture on the Sea of Japan coast were apparently aiming to win contracts for construction projects at the Oi plant, and Moriyama pressed the KEPCO executive to sign contracts by citing the names of specific firms.

"Mr. Moriyama left the money and gifts to me as an expression of congratulations. The items he gave me were not something surprising like gold coins," the former KEPCO official said.

The other former KEPCO official confided to the Mainichi that he received an envelope containing gift coupons worth 100,000 yen to 200,000 yen as a congratulatory present from Moriyama when he assumed an executive position at the Oi plant in the 1990s. At that time, the official was living away from his family based outside Fukui Prefecture, but Moriyama visited him at his family's home when he was back there over the weekend and handed him the envelope. The ex-official said he returned the gift coupons to Moriyama in person at the beginning of the following week.

While Moriyama had since requested that the ex-official sign a deal with new contractors for regular inspections at the Oi atomic power station, the former official said he "didn't comply with his requests."

After the ex-official moved outside Fukui Prefecture several years later, he had no more contact with Moriyama.

An investigative report released by KEPCO on Oct. 2 found that 20 out of 26 officials who belonged to the firm's nuclear energy division and other sections between 2011 and 2018 and were covered by the survey had received money and gifts worth a total of 320 million yen from Moriyama. However, the report stated that the head and deputy head of the Oi nuclear plant never received such gifts.

KEPCO plans to launch a fact-finding committee comprising lawyers and other external figures to further probe the payoff scandal. The number of officials and others to be subject to the investigation is certain to rise following the latest revelation.

(Japanese original by Takeshi Terada, Special Reports Department, Osaka, and Ikuko Ando, Tokyo City News Department)

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