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HOME  > Past issues  > 2019 October 9 - 15  > Shii urges Abe to investigate into money scandal involving KEPCO executives
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2019 October 9 - 15 [POLITICS]

Shii urges Abe to investigate into money scandal involving KEPCO executives

October 9, 2019
Japanese Communist Party Chair Shii Kazuo on October 8 at the House of Representatives plenary meeting said to Prime Minister Abe Shinzo that the government should look into a scandal in which executives of a power company received a huge amount of money and gifts from a key figure of a nuclear plant-hosting town.

Shii referred to the recently revealed scandal that between 2011 and 2017, top executives of Kansai Electric Power Company received money and goods worth 320 million yen in total from the late deputy mayor of Fukui’s Takahama Town, where KEPCO’s Takahama Nuclear Power Plant is located.

Shii said that judging from the revealed details of the money scandal, it is obvious that the 320 million yen was initially part of money KEPCO spent in relation to the Takahama NPP. Shii asked Abe’s view on this point, but Abe avoided making a response.

The JCP chair also said that traced further back, the source of the 320 million yen is electricity charges paid by the general public. He pointed out that KEPCO raised electricity rates for households twice after 2011 in order to cover the expenses necessary to reactivate its offline nuclear reactors, and that part of the money eventually went into the pockets of KEPCO executives in a dishonest manner. Shii stressed that the government should be also criticized for promoting the reactivation of idled nuclear reactors and giving a green light to the electricity rate hike by KEPCO.

Furthermore, Shii referred to KEPCO’s plan to set up a third-party commission to find out the truth concerning the money scandal, saying that this commission is unreliable as it will be organized by the company whose chairman and president are involved in the scandal in question. He said that the government which oversees the nuclear power plant industry should carry out a thorough investigation into the scandal.

Shii pointed out that KEPCO and ten other nuclear plant operators ordered construction works worth more than five trillion yen in a bid to resume operations of their nuclear power plants. He insisted that the government should also look into the ten utilities to check to see if there are other money scandal similar to KEPCO’s.

Abe refused to respond to Shii’s request. He just said that KEPCO’s scandal should be first probed by a third-party commission as the utility plans to do and that he was informed that the ten power companies carried out reviews in response to instructions from the Economy Ministry.

* * *

At a meeting held on October 8 by directors of the House of Representatives Budget Committee, opposition party members proposed that the committee should hold intensive discussions to inspect KEPCO’s money scandal. The opposition parties stressed the need to call KEPCO Chairman Yagi Makoto and KEPCO President Iwane Shigeki and four other executives to the committee as unsworn witnesses.

Past related article:
> NPP-related money scandal involving KEPCO should be fully uncovered [September 29, 2019]
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