Tokyo prosecutors raid Japanese construction firms over Maglev projects

The politically influenced construction industry in Japan has seen frequent alleged bid-rigging related issues crop up. The current issue revolves around laying maglev lines that link up Tokyo, Nagoya and Osaka.

On Tuesday, prosecutors in Tokyo raided the headquarters of Taisei Corp and Obayashi Corp, Japanese construction firms, over alleged antitrust violations linked to magnetic levitation (maglev) train projects worth $80 billion.

Although the Nikkei’s benchmark average was flat, Taisei’s shares fell by 5.3% to levels below its 3 month low, while those of Obayashi shed 3% before paring losses.

According to Takayuki Renbutsu, Taisei’s spokesman, the firm is fully cooperating with investigative authorities.

Takayuki is considered one of the “big four” in Japan’s construction industry.

Prosecutors have also raided Obayashi’s offices over suspected antitrust breaches, said a spokeswoman from the firm.

For Obayashi, this raid piles on top of existing investigations over suspected bid-rigging for maglev-related contracts.

The raids come in the wake of prosecutors launching investigations into Shimizu Corp and Kajima Corp over alleged antitrust breaches related to a maglev project which links Tokyo, Nagoya and Osaka.

While Kajima’s shares fell by 5.6%, Shimizu’s shares fell by 3.2%; the shares of both companies extended their losses from Monday.


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