TOKYO (Reuters) - A Japanese mayor indicated on Thursday he had received an improper payment from a construction company after he was elected in 2018, the second scandal in recent months involving the host town of a nuclear power plant in rural Japan.
Shintaro Wakiyama, the mayor of Genkai, told a news conference he had returned the money last month to the company, Shiohama Industry Corp, adding that he had kept it in a safe and spent none of it. The comments were confirmed by a town spokeswoman.
The spokeswoman said Wakiyama did not know how much cash there was. Earlier, Kyodo news agency reported that the mayor had received 1 million yen ($9,100).
Genkai, in southwestern Japan, is host to the plant operated by Kyushu Electric Power.
Wakiyama declined to address the motives of Shiohama Industry’s payment. The spokeswoman said the mayor simply received a parcel of cash with a Shiohama Industry executive’s business card inside, with no explanation.
Shiohama Industry was not immediately available for comment.
Kyushu Electric declined to comment.
The mayor received the money a few days after he won the election in July 2018, the spokeswoman said. She said he did not say now whether he would step down.
In October, Kansai Electric Power’s chairman and president said they would resign to take responsibility after revelations that 20 company officials had received payments and gifts worth $3 million from a local government official.
Reporting by Takashi Umekawa; Editing by Chris Gallagher and Gerry Doyle