Prosecutors investigate Obayashi over maglev train project

Prosecutors investigate Obayashi over maglev train project

Prosecutors have raided major construction company Obayashi Corp’s headquarters and other locations to investigate possible fraud in bidding on contracts for a 9 trillion yen maglev train project, people close to the matter said Saturday.

The prosecutors searched the company’s head office in Tokyo and other sites from Friday to early Saturday and will question company executives on a voluntary basis, they said.

“We will fully cooperate” with investigators, an Obayashi spokesman said.

Obayashi, one of the four biggest Japanese construction companies, is among the contractors working to build an ultra high-speed train line between Tokyo and Osaka by 2045 to be run by Central Japan Railway Co. Obayashi has won four contracts for work with its joint venture partner from October 2015.

Services between Tokyo and Nagoya on a 286-kilometer stretch are slated to begin in 2027, connecting the two cities in only 40 minutes, less than half the 88 minutes it now takes on the quickest Tokaido Shinkansen bullet train operated by Central Japan Railway.

The railway company said it is not aware of any fraud in the bidding.

The next-generation high-speed line — the world’s first using superconducting magnetic levitation technology — will have a top speed of 500 kilometers per hour.

Obayashi, established in 1936, is expanding its business globally with about 8,500 employees. The company posted sales of 1.3 trillion yen in the past business year to March 31.

© KYODO

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