Japan nuclear operator executive quits over improper gifts, cash

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Japanese nuclear operators resigned after conceding him and other officials had received goods and money from a former deputy mayor whose town hosts the company’s nuclear power plant.

Kansai Electric Power Chairman said on Wednesday that Makoto Yagi stepped down after operator acknowledged that its 20 executives, employees, including Yagi, received cash and items worth about 320 million yen (3 million dollars) from an official.

According to the chairman, the cash and items were received in the town of Takahama, which is the home to the utility’s Takahama Nuclear Power Station.

“I sincerely apologize for causing much trouble and betraying the trust of the public and customers,’’ Yagi told a news conference, bowing deeply.

The company said President Shigeki Iwane will also resign when a third-party panel looking into the scandal releases a report.

The operator’s announcement comes amid public pressure after the two declined to offer their resignation just a week ago.

Kansai Electric said late September that the 20 people had received the money and the items over a seven-year period leading up to 2017 from Eiji Moriyama, who once served as deputy mayor in Takahama.

Moriyama, who died in March at the age of 90, received about 300 million yen from a local construction company that has profited from the nuclear power plant, the Kyodo News agency said.

Of Japan’s 33 nuclear reactors, only six units, including one at Takahama, are in operation amid persistent concerns about nuclear power generation following the 2011 triple meltdown at the Fukushima Nuclear Power Station.

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