Japanese maglev contractor managers arrested over bid-rigging
Prosecutors arrested on Friday executives from two of four major Japanese contractors suspected of involvement in bid rigging for construction work on the Tokyo-Osaka maglev train link.
Tokyo prosecutors arrested former Taisei managing director Takashi Okawa, 67, and Kajima’s division manager Ichiro Osawa, 60, on suspicion of breaching antitrust regulations.
Between 2014 and 2015, the two allegedly discussed prices with officials of Obayashi Corporation and Shimizu Corporation and conspired to determine which company would win orders ahead of the tenders issued by Central Japan Railway Company.
According to JR Central, two joint ventures led by Shimizu and Obayashi won orders for work at Shinagawa station in 2015, while a joint venture led by Obayashi won a contract for work at Nagoya station in 2016.
Since 2015, JR Central and the Japan Railway Construction, Transport and Technology Agency have placed construction orders related to the maglev project.
The four contractors each won three or four orders out of 15 to build the high-speed rail line before the prosecutors searched the firms late last year.
The government has provided a total of 3 trillion yen (US$28 billion) for the 9 trillion yen project, which will connect Tokyo and Osaka, about 500km west of the capital, in about an hour.