Auditor: Half of Fukushima Open Tenders Lacked Competition

Yomiuri Shimbun file photo
A clock of a hair salon in Tomioka, Fukushima Prefecture, which was destoyed by the 2011 earthquake

TOKYO (Jiji Press)—The Board of Audit of Japan said Friday it has found competition was lacking in about half of open tenders for the government’s reconstruction projects following a nuclear accident in Fukushima Prefecture in 2011.

The Environment Ministry’s local office in Fukushima outsourced four types of reconstruction projects, signing 735 contracts with subcontractors through open tendering from April 2016 and September 2021.

Of the tenders, 362, or 49.3%, ended up having only one bidder. The proportion was higher than 33.6 pct for open tenders offered by the whole government from fiscal 2016 to fiscal 2021.

The average bid acceptance ratio stood at 94.6%, 13.3 percentage points higher than tenders with multiple bidders.

The four types of reconstruction projects are the building of interim storage facilities for soil tainted with radioactive substances, decontamination work, the disposal of contaminated waste and reconstruction in specific areas.

Of the 735 open tenders, 52.6% for interim storage facility projects lacked competition, followed by 49.2 pct for decontamination projects, 48.9% for waste disposal and 44.9 pct for reconstruction in specific areas.

The Board of Audit urged the ministry to make efforts to ensure competition in open tenders.

The board also looked at the ¥44,747.8 billion earmarked by the government in the 10 years from fiscal 2011 for financing reconstruction projects after a massive earthquake and tsunami as well as the nuclear accident in March 2011.

Of the money, ¥38,171.1 billion, or 85.3%, has been spent. The board found ¥6,144.8 billion, or 13.7% of the total, had not been needed.

A total of ¥17,679.6 billion went to three prefectures hit hardest by the disasters—Iwate, Miyagi and Fukushima.

At the end of fiscal 2021 through March last year, coastal levees were completed in 92.1% of planned sections along the Pacific coastline in 37 municipalities in the three prefectures.