Following the KEPCO Gift Scandal. 100 People Survey.
Following a scandal in which several Kansai Electric Power Company (KEPCO) executives received a large amount of gifts and cash from Mr. Eiji Moriyama, the late deputy mayor of Fukui Prefecture’s Takahama Town, a survey directed towards 100 town residents was carried out. In regards to resuming operations for the Takahama Nuclear Power Plant Unit 1 and Unit 2, 58 people responded with “Agree” or “Moderately agree”. 17 people were against the resumption, due to concerns of safety and deterioration of the power plants. 25 responded with “Not sure”.
23 respondents viewed Mr. Moriyama’s role in the scandal as problematic, whereas 18 respondents directed that feeling towards KEPCO. However, many Takahama residents have considered the reality that the nuclear power plants, which has supported the local economy for many years, is also needed in the future.
Taking responsibility for the gift scandal, KEPCO Chairman Makoto Yagi resigned on October 9th of this year. A third-party panel (headed by chairman Keiichi Tadaki, a former attorney general) continues its investigation on current and former KEPCO employees. It is predicted that the final results of the investigation will be compiled after January of next year. There has been an increase in activity towards the criminal prosecution of Mr. Yagi and KEPCO President Shigeki Iwane, among other employees.
In a multiple choice section asking the reason for why they support the resumption of the power plants, “Employment” was the most numerous, by 13 of the 58 people. Different reasons follow: “Whether it is in operation or not, there is danger” (10 people), “It is a stable power supply” (9 people), “Taxes, grants, and revenue” (6 people), “There is no concern for an accident” (6 people), “Local consumer spending by the labourers” (3 people). 8 respondents took the Tokyo Electric Power Company’s Fukushima Unit 1 Nuclear Power Plant accident into consideration, stating a prerequisite, “If safety measures are perfected”.
In the aftermath of the scandal, 10 people responded that their view on restarting the power plants have changed; most explained it was due to distrust towards KEPCO.
When asked about the source and circumstances of the scandal, 23 people responded that the problem centered around Mr. Moriyama; “He acted in a display of his influence” stood out as a response on the survey. 18 people responded that the problem lies within KEPCO; “It was excessive to entrust the local area’s provisions on one person, on Mr. Moriyama”, was one of the opinions recorded.
The survey was carried out during the last weeks of October, through door-to-door canvassing within the town. Among the respondents were 52 males and 48 females, with ages ranging from 18 to 90.