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    2004 banner year for DFAA

    Apparently, 2004 was a good year for bid rigging:

    It now appears that every major civil engineering and construction project commissioned by the DFAA in fiscal 2004 was tarnished by bid-rigging, according to sources close to an investigation by Tokyo prosecutors.

    Projects that were believed rigged include the relocation of a runway at the U.S. Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni in Yamaguchi Prefecture as well as quay and bank protection work at the U.S. Navy’s Fleet Activities Sasebo and Yokose Fuel Terminal, both in Nagasaki Prefecture. Revelations about Iwakuni emerged Thursday.

    Of particular interest to prosecutors is a retired DFAA official who held the post of technical councilor, the third-highest job in the agency, an arm of the Defense Agency that its chief has pledged to dissolve.

    The construction project in Sasebo was contracted for 4.032 billion yen, while work on the Iwakuni project in fiscal 2004 cost 3.517 billion yen.

    The Sasebo project was the most expensive commissioned by the Fukuoka Defense Facilities Administration Bureau in fiscal 2004.

    The joint venture that won the project was headed by Penta Ocean Construction Co. and the bid price was 99.28 percent of what the agency was willing to spend. [Incompetents! They couldn’t find a way to wring out the other 0.72%?–SRK]

    The project at the Yokose Fuel Terminal cost about 1.575 billion yen and the contract was won by a joint venture led by Toa Corp. The bid price was 97.76 percent of what the agency had earmarked.

    Experts said such high percentages are unheard of when bidding is open to all.

    Three sitting or former DFAA high officials were arrested last week, but of course, you don’t get dirty doings of this magnitude without help from another post-War institution: the revolving door, known in Japanese as 天下り (ama-kudari: lit., “descent from the heavens [of powerful government work into a private-sector position in which one can exploit one’s accrued connections]”).

    Retired DFAA bureaucrats also played key coordinating roles in deciding which joint ventures got contracts.

    Sources close to the investigation said a retired technical councilor who moved to an executive position at a construction company was a key individual in the bid-rigging for the Iwakuni project.

    The individual, whose name was withheld, served as head of the DFAA’s Construction Department as well as technical councilor from the 1980s until the 1990s.

    A textbook case of amakudari at work.

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