Photo/IllutrationShigeki Iwane, president of Kansai Electric Power Co., right, and Chairman Makoto Yagi apologize at a news conference held on Oct. 2 in Osaka. (Mari Endo)

OSAKA--Kansai Electric Power Co. on Oct. 2 said two executives connected to its nuclear power operations each received gifts worth more than 100 million yen ($930,000) from an influential town government official.

The utility has been bombarded with questions concerning gifts received by numerous executives from Eiji Moriyama, a former deputy mayor of Takahama, Fukui Prefecture, where one of the company’s nuclear power plants is located.

“I would like to extend my deepest apology for betraying the trust and feelings of our customers and others in society and causing major problems and worries,” Kansai Electric President Shigeki Iwane said at the start of the company’s news conference on Oct. 2.

Kansai Electric admitted on Sept. 27 that 20 executives received a total of about 320 million yen in cash and gifts of various forms from Moriyama, who died in March at age 90.

But the company initially refused to divulge details of who actually received the gifts, citing the need to protect personal information.

That led to criticism from the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, which oversees public utilities, and the Osaka city government, the leading shareholder of Kansai Electric.

The company on Oct. 2 said Satoshi Suzuki, a managing executive officer, received about 120 million yen in gifts from Moriyama, the largest amount. The gifts included 78 million yen in cash, $35,000 in U.S. currency, 500 grams of gold and certificates for 14 tailored suits.

Suzuki is a deputy manager of the company’s Nuclear Power Division based in Mihama, Fukui Prefecture.

The previous manager of the Nuclear Power Division, Hideki Toyomatsu, a former executive vice president, received about 110 million yen from Moriyama, according to the company.

Kansai Electric also said that its chairman, Makoto Yagi, who also at one time served as manager of the Nuclear Power Division, received about 8 million yen, including about 60 gold coins.

The current manager of the Nuclear Power Division, Executive Vice President Ikuo Morinaka, received about 40 million yen.

President Iwane received 10 gold coins worth a total of 1.5 million yen, the company said.

Both Iwane and Yagi said at the news conference that they will not resign their posts.

Kansai Electric has internal rules about gifts that go beyond the bounds of accepted social customs. However, the only disciplinary measures meted out were the return of part of the monthly remuneration of some of the executives.

An internal report compiled by Kansai Electric in autumn 2018 showed that Moriyama received documents about planned nuclear plant projects, including estimated costs, at some of his meetings with company officials.

Moriyama had deep connections with companies that have received contracts from Kansai Electric.

But the report said Kansai Electric executives did not feel they were providing information in exchange for the gifts because Moriyama on many occasions provided gifts when information on plant projects was not shared.

The company had previously said that most of the gifts were eventually returned to Moriyama, but the latest revelation showed that executives had kept 34.87 million yen.

Based on that report, the company disciplined the executives who received the gifts.

But Suzuki was only given a strict warning. Yagi and Iwane returned 20 percent of their monthly remuneration for one to two months.

Moreover, the results of the internal investigation and the disciplinary measures were never reported to a board meeting, and only a few company executives were aware of the report.

At the Oct. 2 news conference, Kansai Electric officials said they would establish an independent panel to look into whether similar issues had occurred at other divisions. A report is expected to be released by the end of the year.

“My duty will be to conduct a thorough investigation and uncover the cause for what happened,” Yagi said.

Yagi also indicated that he would also not step down as a vice chairman of the Kansai Economic Federation.

Iwane added that he would remain in his position as head of the Federation of Electric Power Companies of Japan.