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Chiba Mayor Arrested on Corruption Charges

April 22, 2009

All three newspapers were filled with headlines this morning showing the Chiba Government Office being flooded with police. The mayor Chiba was arrested today on charges of bribery in a construction scandal. The police claim that Mayor Tsuroka Keiichi received about 1,000,000 yen (10,000 dollars) in 2005 as bribe money when new orders were being placed for public works projects. Each newspaper added different sides to the story.

Nikkei “The Mayor Claims he’s innocent” The Nikkei’s opening paragraph describes the accusation that is being brought on the mayor, and then the second sentence abruptly states “and he claims he’s innocent.” The Nikkei also mentions that the Public Works Construction Company involved in the scandal is using the defense that the statue of limitations on bribery is three years, and three years have elapsed since the event.

Yomiuri “The Mayor had a Motive” The Yomiuri paints a vivid picture of how the bribery supposedly happened. The Yomiuri states the payment of cash took place right in the Mayor’s office. “Both parties were deeply involved in the Mayor’s campaign contributions. Then in October 2005 the mayor, during a public bid for construction contracts, gave the order to give this construction company the main bid. Afterwards on that day, the construction company president showed up to the mayor’s office and handed him an envelope with 1 million yen in it.”

During the investigation, other companies who were possibly involved in bid-rigging were also brought to light. The Yomiuri claims through hundreds of potential candidates, 9 companies were chosen for the current construction project. The total value of the project is about 44,830,000 yen (448,300 dollars).

Asahi “I’ve never received any such accommodation.” The Asahi claims the mayor denied his involvement when he was being questioned by the authorities. “How did you react to the president of the construction company’s visit?” The mayor replied, “I have not ever received any such accommodation.” The Asahi then in their final paragraph described the mayor’s career, closing with the commentary that the mayor’s term limits are up this year.

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