Bid-rigging firms donated 1.6 billion yen to LDP

Companies suspected of rigging bids for public works projects building steel bridges have given the Liberal Democratic Party about 1.6 billion yen in donations for eleven years.

Japanese Communist Party representative Inoue Satoshi revealed this during his questioning session in the June 7 House of Councilors Budget Committee meeting.

Inoue has found that 33 out of 49 companies affiliated with two bid-rigging syndicates had given 1.59 billion yen in political donations to the People's Political Association, an LDP fund managing organization, between 1993 and 2003.

Nippon Steel Corporation, which gave 380 million yen, was the biggest donor among these firms, followed by JFE Engineering Corporation with 170 million yen and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd. with 150 million yen.

Inoue also pointed out that in addition to three government regional development bureaus (Kanto, Tohoku, and Hokuriku) against which the Fair Trade Commission filed a criminal complaint, five others (Chubu, Kinki, Chugoku, Shikoku, and Kyushu) were also suspected of illegal biddings.

Inoue estimated that bid-rigging companies had made 6 billion yen in profits from public works ordered by the three regional development bureaus. He pressed Minister of Land, Infrastructure, and Transportation Kitagawa Kazuo to have all development bureaus investigated and demand that companies found to be engaged in bid rigging pay back unfair profits.

The land minister answered, "We'll require these companies to pay a 10 percent-penalty charge." Prime Minister Koizumi Jun'ichiro said, "The matter is serious because they are representative corporations of Japan." - Akahata, June 8, 2005

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