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2014 May 14 - 20 [POLITICS]

Ex-Tokyo gov’t officials parachute into contract-awarded firms related to Tsukiji fish market relocation

May 14, 2014
Akahata on May 14 reported that 64 former senior officials of the Tokyo Metropolitan Government obtained jobs at major construction companies which were awarded public works contracts related to the relocation of the Tsukiji Fish Market.

The Tsukiji Market is one of the largest fish markets in the world. Its operator, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government, plans to move the market to a site in the Toyosu district where a Tokyo Gas Co. plant previously stood, claiming that the current site is too old and too small.

Tokyo, aiming for the completion of the reloation in 2016, made seven contracts for the construction works with seven joint ventures consisting of 27 companies during the period between August 2011 and February this year. The total value of the contracts reached 164.5 billion yen.

Of the 27 companies, 17 accepted a total of 64 former bureaucrats of the Tokyo government, and 19 people of 9 companies were bureau chiefs, according to the list of names Akahata obtained.

The local government prohibits its former officials for two years after their retirement from doing sales work related to jobs they had engaged in during the last five years of their government service.

However, one ex-bureau chief of Tokyo, who works at a construction company, said to Akahata that the regulation is in name-only, adding, “I, myself, have an experience of exchanging information about bids for the new market construction with a Tokyo official.”

Regarding the construction of new market facilities, as three of four bids for contracts in November last year were rejected, the Tokyo government increased the bid ceiling by 40.7 billion yen (a 65% increase) and concluded contracts with the aforementioned joint ventures in February this year. The bid ratios were abnormally high, up to 99.96%.

Suzuki Kokichi, who heads an ombudsman group in Tokyo’s Koto Ward, pointed out that the metropolitan government raised the bid ceiling in accordance with the constructors’ demand, and said that he believes that the Tokyo government officials made the concession because the construction companies provide Tokyo bureaucrats with places of lucrative employment upon retirement from their government careers.

The cozy ties between the metropolitan government and construction companies should be ended by banning Tokyo officials from parachuting into interested companies.

Past related articles
> Tsukiji fish market relocation costs exceed initial cost estimate [February 1, 2014]
> Former Tokyo gov’t officials rehired by firms involved in Tsukiji transfer project [February 27, 2012]
> Behind the plan to move fish market from Tsukiji to Toyosu [April 4, 2011]
> Metropolitan gov’t conceals pollution data at planned relocation site for Tsukiji fish market [July 21, 2010]
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