Japanese authorities have now indicted a second government official for taking bribes in connection with space work by the country’s space agency JAXA.
Kazuaki Kawabata, 57, the former director-general for international affairs at the ministry, allegedly received bribes worth about 1.5 million yen ($13,570) in the form of wining and dining.
Koji Taniguchi, 47, who served as an executive of a medical care consulting company, was also indicted on Aug. 15 on a charge of providing the bribes to Kawabata. Taniguchi had already been indicted in a different scandal on a charge of helping another education ministry official, Futoshi Sano, receive bribes from Tokyo Medical University executives.
According to the announcement by the Special Investigation Department of the Tokyo District Public Prosecutors Office, Kawabata was on loan to JAXA from August 2015 to March 2017, where he worked as a vice president. During the period, he was wined and dined more than 20 times in return for giving favors to the consulting company. The lavish drinks and dining totaled 1.5 million yen, including taxi fares.
None of this is really news. It is standard operating procedure at the higher levels of most government operations. These guys simply weren’t smart enough to disguise their corruption very well.