Kansai Electric’s nuclear bribery scandal

In September 2019, Kyodo News scooped a story that 20 Kansai Electric Power Co. executives had received the equivalent of 360 million yen in cash and gifts over more than a decade from Eiji Moriyama (deceased) former deputy mayor of Takahama town (Fukui Prefecture in central Japan). This town happens to be the site of Kansai Electric’s Takahama nuclear plant complex.

Besides the gifts, it was found that in 91 of 121 contracts between Kansai Electric and Yoshida Kaihatsu (a construction company for which Mr. Moriyama acted as an advisor), Moriyama had received information on approximate budget numbers and other strategic information prior bidding. Plus, over a period of six years Yoshida Kaihatsu had received orders from the town of Takahama for a total of 12 projects that received national government subsidies intended for regions that host power supply projects. The contracts were worth 1.1 billion yen. It was also revealed that Moriyama had successfully lobbied Kansai Electric executives to convince Obayashi Construction to not to bid for construction of nuclear-related facilities on which work began in September 1996 in Mihama, Fukui, and instead give the contract to a competitor, the general contractor Kumagai Gumi.

Taken into that Kansai Electric had doled money out in areas that host nuclear power plants like Takahama Town and Fukui Prefecture, the issue of this scandal is the “nuclear power money” circulated back to the Kansai Electric. On December 13, a citizens’ group called Kanden no Genpatsu Mane Fusei Kanryū o Kokuhatsu Suru Kai (Citizens’ Group to Condemn Kansai Electric’s Nuclear Power Money Scandal) filed a formal complaint with the Osaka District Public Prosecutor’s Office accusing the Kansai Electric officials of bribery and specified breaches of the Companies Act. A total of 3,272 people from all over Japan participated in that legal action.