Nishimatsu Construction Co. loaned 100 million yen (about $1 million) to save the family business of a mayor who wanted to bring a nuclear facility to his city, according to sources and internal documents.
The Tokyo-based company provided the money from a fund of a subsidiary in 2003 and 2004 after consulting with Tokyo Electric Power Co., the documents showed. At that time, TEPCO was planning to build an intermediate storage facility for spent nuclear fuel in Mutsu, Aomori Prefecture.
Of the loans, 70 million yen became unrecoverable. But the money kept alive Masago, a machinery manufacturer in Mutsu run by the family of the city’s mayor, Masashi Sugiyama.
Sugiyama remained Mutsu mayor until his death in 2007, and a joint venture between TEPCO and Japan Atomic Power Co. is now building the intermediate storage facility.
Nishimatsu was also found to have provided about 200 million yen from its slush fund to help TEPCO buy part of the land for the storage facility. After that land deal was completed, TEPCO gave a verbal promise to award lucrative contracts to Nishimatsu, according to documents.
Construction of the intermediate storage facility started in 2010.
Nishimatsu’s public relations division chief said in a written statement, “We cannot answer questions (related to the loans) because there are no documents.”
TEPCO’s public relations division said the company has no knowledge about the loans.
The construction company led by Sugiyama’s uncle also declined to discuss the matter.
“Our president cannot see media reporters because he is now sick,” the company said.