Kansai Electric Chief under Pressure to Quit over Gift Scandal

Economy

Osaka, Oct. 3 (Jiji Press)--Calls for Kansai Electric Power Co. <9503> President Shigeki Iwane to step down are intensifying in the wake of a scandal in which executives of the firm received gifts, including cash, from an influential late former deputy mayor of a nuclear plant host town.

Iwane ruled out resigning over the matter at a press conference Wednesday, saying, "I want to fulfill my management responsibility by leading efforts to investigate the causes and prevent recurrences." It was Kansai Electric's second press conference on the scandal, held after the company, based in the western Japan city of Osaka, was criticized for not disclosing enough information at the first news conference last Friday.

The city, the top shareholder of Kansai Electric, urged the company to revamp its management, with its mayor, Ichiro Matsui, saying that the current management team "should back out."

"I think Kansai Electric of course will make their own management decision," industry minister Isshu Sugawara said Wednesday, emphasizing the management team's need to take responsibility over the scandal.

"I think (Iwane) will have to resign sooner or later," an industry source said.

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