NHK has learned that a former deputy mayor of a town in central Japan that hosts a nuclear power plant had received huge payments from at least three companies in the nuclear plant business.
Eiji Moriyama gave cash and gifts worth about 3 million dollars to executives of Kansai Electric Power Company, which operates the Takahama nuclear plant in Takahama, Fukui Prefecture. Moriyama died earlier this year.
Moriyama has already been found to have received roughly 3 million dollars from a firm that received orders from Kansai Electric for plant-related projects. The firm is one of four for which Moriyama served as consultant or advisor.
It has been revealed that at least two of the other three made huge payments to Moriyama.
These firms experienced a jump in sales when Kansai Electric commissioned them with projects to ensure the safety of reactors when they're put back online.
One of them, a plant maintenance firm, received more than 137 million dollars' worth of orders over five years through fiscal 2018. Another, a security firm, posted record sales of about 47 million dollars last year.
Officials with local companies told NHK no one could get projects for Kansai Electric unless they talked to Moriyama. They said Moriyama began wielding more influence after the 2011 Fukushima nuclear accident because safety projects increased.
A former executive at Kansai Electric said the utility probably assumed it would be easier to operate and carry out projects on its plant if it got close to Moriyama, who controlled local businesses.
Kansai Electric claims its projects were commissioned properly and at appropriate prices.
A third-party panel plans to look into the process.