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    Aichi Prefecture named in Aneha scandal lawsuit

    Let the lawsuits begin:

    [A] business hotel operator filed a lawsuit Tuesday demanding 721 million yen ($6.15 million) from a consulting company and Aichi Prefecture over falsified strength reports that forced the hotel to close down.

    Handa Denka Kogyo Co., an electric works company that operates the Centre One Hotel Handa in Handa, said the prefectural government failed to detect glaring flaws in Aneha’s reports and gave its approval for the construction of the building.

    Handa Denka also blamed Tokyo-based consultant company Sogo Keiei Kenkyujo (Soken), and its director, Takeshi Uchikawa, over their instructions on how to build and manage the business hotel.

    The lawsuit, filed with the Nagoya District Court, is the first time in the widening Aneha scandal for a business hotel operator to hold administrative authorities responsible for the falsified reports.

    “The prefectural government’s fault is serious,” the lawsuit said.

    An official of the Aichi prefectural government denied the prefecture was responsible.

    “Aneha’s falsification was skilful and beyond our imagination. We did not commit any faults under the laws,” the official said.

    Possibly. Or possibly, the bureaucrats in Aichi Prefecture just lack imagination. Remember this gem from a few months ago? (No, I’m not calling my own post a gem; I’m referring to the cited Yomiuri article, which is no longer on-line):

    The analysis was provided by a first-class architect asked by The Yomiuri Shimbun to evaluate the plans of Aneha, who has admitted falsifying structural strength certificates for 22 buildings in the Tokyo metropolitan area.

    The expert said the structural data were an outright falsification, with various data combined to reduce material costs, and it was hard to imagine how the inspection agency involved failed to notice.

    Concerning the structural integrity data for Sun Chuo Home No. 15, an apartment building in Funabashi, Chiba Prefecture, the architect said, “I had an uncomfortable feeling looking at it at first glance.”

    Those were in Chiba, not Aichi, but there seems little reason to believe that Aneha took extra care to cover his tracks outside Tokyo. He was quoted multiple times as saying that he didn’t work too hard at being crafty.

    Of course, that doesn’t mean that the prefectural government actually is liable; if everyone down the line did all the rubber-stamping and paper pushing right, it may not be.

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