Prosecutors decide not to indict ex-KEPCO execs

Prosecutors in Osaka have decided not to bring charges against nine former executives of Kansai Electric Power Company suspected of aggravated breach of trust and bribery.

Former KEPCO chairman Yagi Makoto, former president Iwane Shigeki and seven others received cash and gifts from a former deputy mayor of Takahama Town in Fukui Prefecture, which hosts one of the utility's nuclear power plants.

They were accused by a citizens group on suspicion of commissioning construction work at padded cost to firms affiliated with the former deputy mayor, making the utility incur losses.

The Osaka District Public Prosecutors Office examined the case and the utility management's compensation of executive salaries that had been reduced due to poor business results.

On Tuesday, prosecutors decided against indictment, citing a lack of evidence.

They explained that no illegal construction work was commissioned, so the utility suffered no damage.

They also said that due to a lack of evidence of illegal solicitation from the former deputy mayor, they cannot file a bribery charge.

The prosecutors added that the former executives' responsibilities cannot be said to have lacked substance, so compensation of their salaries does not amount to breach of trust.

The group's lawyer Kawai Hiroyuki said in an online news conference that the failure to indict over what may be called the biggest postwar economic crime significantly undermines the prosecution's authority.

He accused prosecutors of abandoning their role and lax investigation, and vowed to bring the case before a prosecution inquest panel.