29 April 2008
Record fines have been imposed on a group of Japanese construction companies accused of acting as a cartel on bidding for bridge projects between April 2002 and March 2005. The Japanese Government's Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transportation has fined 38 construction companies YEN 6.7 billion (US$ 57 million) for rigging bids for the projects.
These fines are the largest handed down since a new penalty system was introduced in Japan in June 2003 for bid rigging on construction schemes. Under the system, companies found to be acting as a cartel are ordered to pay 10% of the contract value.
Ministry official Tsuyoshi Kurokawa refused to name the companies involved, but local news agency Kyodo claims that the group includes Yokogawa Bridge Corporation, Ishikawajima-Harima Heavy Industries and Kawasaki Heavy Industries.
Kyodo also said that the final cost of the fines could be more than YEN 15 billion (US$ 128 million) when charges for unfinished construction and appeals against the penalties are taken into account.