TOKYO, Oct 9 (Reuters) - The chairman of Kansai Electric Power Co has decided to resign, media reported on Wednesday, in a reversal of his stated intention to stay just a week ago amid a graft scandal that has rocked public trust in Japan’s second-largest utility.
Chairman and former president Makoto Yagi has informed several people at Kansai Electric of his intention to step down due to growing criticism from the government, local authorities, and the public, the Asahi newspaper and others reported.
President Shigeki Iwane is also expected to resign at a later date, after the conclusion of a third-party investigation into the scandal, the Nikkei business daily reported. Yagi’s resignation is likely to be discussed at a board meeting on Wednesday, the Nikkei said.
Kansai Electric could not immediately be reached for comment by Reuters outside office hours.
The two executives had told a news conference last week that they would not resign after Iwane said he and 19 other company employees had received payments and gifts worth 320 million yen ($3 million) from the late deputy mayor of Takahama, where the company has a nuclear power station.
An internal Kansai Electric investigation had found the then deputy mayor, Eiji Moriyama, exerted influence over local government officials and sought to influence them to support the local economy and use local businesses as suppliers.
The payments were disclosed after the matter was raised by the local tax bureau. ($1 = 106.9700 yen)
Reporting by Chang-Ran Kim; Editing by Christopher Cushing