Kansai Electric Power Company has disclosed that 20 employees including top executives received money and items worth about 320 million yen, or about 3 million dollars, from a former town official. The town hosts one of the firm's nuclear power plants.
KEPCO President Shigeki Iwane spoke at a news conference on Friday.
He said, "The total amount of payments we received was about 320 million yen. At this point, the money that wasn't given out of custom was returned."
Iwane said the employees had tried to return the money and goods, but the former town official adamantly refused to accept them.
The president said the employees feared their relations with the official might be damaged if they had forced him to take back the money and items. He said the official had been very supportive of KEPCO.
Iwane said the payments and gift-giving took place for a seven-year period through 2018.
Japan's industry minister, Isshu Sugawara, earlier called the disclosures outrageous if true. He said he has instructed his administrative staff to summon KEPCO officials for voluntary questioning.
The money was reportedly paid by a former deputy mayor of Takahama town, Fukui Prefecture, which is home to a KEPCO nuclear plant.
Some media reports claim the official received large sums of money from a local construction firm.