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Ex-environment ministry employee handed suspended sentence in Fukushima bribery case

Yuji Suzuki
The Fukushima District Court handed Yuji Suzuki a suspended prison term for accepting bribes related to decontamination work in Fukushima Prefecture (TBS News)

FUKUSHIMA (TR) – A court here has handed a former employee with the environment ministry a suspended sentence for bribery involving radiation decontamination work due to the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster of 2011, reports Jiji Press (June 29).

A the Fukushima District Court on Thursday, Yuji Suzuki, a 57-year old former employee of the Ministry of the Environment, received a one-year prison term, suspended for three years, and a fine of 230,000 yen.

“With an early recovery sought, rapid and reliable execution of the decontamination work was expected,” said presiding judge Shoji Miyata. “It cannot be ignored that you betrayed that expectation. Nor can it be said that the impact on society is small.”

Between September of 2015 and June of the following year, Suzuki, who was an expert in an office in charge of overseeing the decontamination work, received meals at restaurants, adult entertainment at clubs and hotel stays valued at a total of about 206,000 yen from Mikio Kosugi, the former president of a construction company in Takaoka City, Toyama Prefecture.

Kosugi, who was also arrested in the case, has admitted that the bribes were to assist his company in winning decontamination work, which includes the removal of soil and shrubs, from areas near the crippled Fukushima Daiichi plant. For the case from Thursday, the company paid the bribes for work in the town of Namie as a subcontractor for a joint venture.

According to Kyodo News, the estimated costs for the cleanup work as tabulated by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry has ballooned to 4 trillion yen from a previous projection of 2.5 trillion yen.