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HOME  > Past issues  > 2007 May 23 - 29  > 6 people arrested in forestry bid-riggings: Bureaucrats favored corporations that hire retired officials
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2007 May 23 - 29 [SCANDAL]

6 people arrested in forestry bid-riggings: Bureaucrats favored corporations that hire retired officials

May 25, 2007
The Tokyo District Public Prosecutor’s Office on May 24 arrested two officials of the Japan Green Resources Agency (JGRA), an independent administrative agency under the control of the Agriculture and Forestry Ministry, and four employees of public service corporations and private corporations for allegedly rigging bids for forest road construction projects in violation of the Antimonopoly Law. It also raided the JGRA head office in Kawasaki City.

The prosecutors took this action in response to criminal charges against the four contractors filed by the Fair Trade Commission.

Agriculture and Forestry Minister Matsuoka Toshikatsu has been criticized for receiving a large amount of money in donations from those contractors, and his political integrity is now called into question.

One of the four arrested employees of the contractors is a former Forestry Agency official, and two others used to work for the JGRA. These contractors have hired former Forestry Agency officials, including its directors, and many retired JGRA officials. The JGRA is suspected of choosing contractors to be awarded based on the number of former officials they have hired.

Takagi Muneo, a suspect who has been JGRA director in charge of forest projects, was allegedly involved in bid-riggings in which he had picked, before the bidding, the contractor to be awarded the design and survey contracts for JGRA forest road projects between April 2005 and October 2006. The four contractors won in about 70 percent of biddings held in 2005 and 2006.

In the Fair Trade Commission’s investigation, Takagi acknowledged that he had played the leading role in the bid-riggings and said that he had distributed those government projects to contractors based on the number of retired officials they have hired. - Akahata, May 25, 2007
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