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Gov't official in bribery scandal wined and dined by former aircraft company president

http://mainichi.jp/english/english/newsselect/news/20150925p2a00m0na016000c.html
September 25, 2015 (Mainichi Japan)

A government official arrested for accepting bribe money from a former aircraft maintenance company president is believed to have been treated to multiple outings at restaurants. The company was also continually behind on its land usage payments to the government, it has been learned.

Investigators at the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) believe that the official and former company president established close ties through the outings, which culminated in the exchange of bribe money.

According to an investigative source, in fiscal 2011 the company, Wings of Life (WOL), obtained permission to use some land at Haneda Airport. The firm owns a corporate jet hangar site in the area. WOL was supposed to pay around 100 million yen a year to the government as usage fees for the land, but from the first year it fell behind in its payments and started receiving warnings to pay.

The arrested official, Ryuya Kawamura, 39, is a section head at the Flights Standards Division of the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism's Civil Aviation Bureau, and he is also in charge of warning companies about overdue payments. Through his duties, he came to know the former president, Minoru Ijuin, 61, a South Korean national. Since around 2013, when a bribe allegedly took place, the two became close. Kawamura is thought to have provided his bank account details to Ijuin and received bribe money into the account.

WOL, on its website, claims it has "the only large-scale hangar at Haneda Airport for corporate jets."

In 2010, the transport ministry listed corporate jets, which can carry passengers directly to their destinations, as a part of the nation's growth strategy. It has increased facilities to accept corporate jets, primarily at airports in the metropolitan area. Both Haneda and Narita airports have parking slots for corporate jets, and regulations on the jets have been loosened. As if to take advantage of these new developments, WOL acquired permission to use the hangar site at Haneda Airport.

Corporate jet takeoffs and landings at Haneda Airport nearly doubled from 1,049 in 2010 to 1,956 in 2011, but since then there has been little growth, and the number of corporate jets held in Japan fell from 62 at the end of 2011 to 54 at the end of 2014. A manager of a corporate jet hangar at another airport says, "Corporate jets are still to emerge as a business. Without a variety of income sources, it is hard to meet the 100 million yen usage fee."

It is believed that, against such difficulties, WOL was unable to make the kind of money it had desired. The transport ministry says that the company was behind in its land usage payments since the first year of its contract, and between fiscal 2012 and fiscal 2014 it paid in installments, which is not normally allowed.

As for why the ministry extended WOL's usage of the land despite its late payments, a ministry official only said, "We conducted proper evaluation procedures (on whether to grant extensions)."

It has also been learned from the ministry that out of 27 companies using public land at Haneda Airport with hangars on them, WOL became the first to fail to make its usage payments on time.

According to the ministry and other sources, companies are given permission to use public land at the airport on a yearly basis. Late for its first year payment for fiscal 2011, WOL finally paid the fee more than three months after the deadline. For fiscal 2012 through fiscal 2014, it also paid after the deadlines, and in installments.

WOL is thought to have been without the income necessary to make its payments on time. It reportedly explained to the ministry, "To focus on gathering a customer base, we were only charging for plane maintenance and allowing hangar use for free."

An investigative source says that Kawamura, meanwhile, is believed to have reported to his bosses that there was "no problem" with extending WOL's use of the leased land. In the end, the company continued having its contract extended, despite it being known within the ministry that it was behind on its payments.

On Sept. 25, transport minister Akihiro Ota said at a press conference following a Cabinet meeting, "It seems that doubts were raised after two years had passed, but they did not clearly constitute a reason for revoking permission for the company."

Also on Sept. 25, the MPD referred both suspects' cases to prosecutors.
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上記広告は1ヶ月以上更新のないブログに表示されています。新しい記事を書くことで広告を消せます。