Bribery scandal over Fukushima decontamination
Police in Japan have arrested an environment ministry official for alleged bribery over decontamination work following the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster.
Fifty-six-year-old Yuji Suzuki, who works at a ministry sub-branch in the prefecture, is suspected of helping a construction company land such work in exchange for wining and dining.
The work is aimed at removing radioactive material from houses, soil and woods near the crippled plant.
Fukushima and Tokyo police found that Suzuki was provided entertainment at hostess bars and a free trip worth about 1,750 US dollars from the construction firm in Toyama Prefecture.
Police also arrested a former president of the firm, Mikio Kosugi over the suspected bribery. The 2 have reportedly admitted to the allegations.
Suzuki is among experts hired on a temporary basis by the ministry to deal with reconstruction work including cleaning up widespread fallout from the accident. Police say he was in charge of overseeing decontamination.
Environment Minister Koichi Yamamoto on Thursday expressed regret, saying the scandal could undermine Fukushima people’s trust in the cleanup effort.
He said his ministry will try to win back public trust by tightening discipline and carrying out work properly.
Bureaucrat held for allegedly taking bribe for Fukushima cleanup work
TOKYO (Kyodo) — Police arrested an Environment Ministry employee Thursday on suspicion of receiving a bribe in exchange for favorable treatment in the allocation of cleanup work in Fukushima Prefecture following the 2011 nuclear disaster.
The police alleged that Yuji Suzuki, 56, who handles radiation decontamination work at a local branch of the ministry, was offered nightclub entertainment several times over a period between 2015 and 2016 by a former company manager, the police said.
The police also arrested Mikio Kosugi, 63, for allegedly wining and dining Suzuki in hopes of getting the public servant to give his Toyama Prefecture company work to remove radioactive materials from near the crippled Fukushima Daiichi plant, the police said.
Both Suzuki and Kosugi admitted the allegation, according to police. Sources close to the matter said the estimated value of the inducements Suzuki received is several hundred thousand yen.
The allegation surfaced as the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry has estimated the cost of decontamination work, including soil and tree removals, will surge to 4 trillion yen ($35 billion) from an earlier projection of 2.5 trillion yen.