Kansai Electric Power’s chairman and the president said they would step down after a graft scandal that shook the company.
The company said that Chairman Makoto Yagi’s resignation took effect on Wednesday.
Meanwhile, President Shigeki Iwane will step down after a third-party probe committee submits its findings.
The committee aims to make an independent investigation of the matter. It will likely submit its findings by the end of the year, according to the company.
Both the executives’ resignations mark a stark contrast to their earlier statements. When the scandal came to light, the top officials said they intended to stay in the company.
However, Yagi and Iwane said they’d changed their minds over the past week.
They said that after the criticisms they received from the public and clients, they wanted to take responsibility.
Yagi said he was deeply sorry for the disturbance.
Meanwhile, Iwane said it was his final responsibility to cooperate with the third-party committee.
Kansai’s Scandal with Mayor Eiji Moriyama
The utility company aims to gain back public trust after the graft scandal.
An investigation showed 20 people, including Yagi and Iwane, received the 318.45-million-yen worth of gifts from Takahama Town Deputy Mayor Eiji Moriyama.
Yagi got around 8.59 million yen, while Iwane received 1.5 million yen in gifts.
The internal probe found Moriyama to be exerting influence over local government officials and businesses.
Utility companies have built nuclear powerplants away from areas with large populations like Osaka and Tokyo.
Local governments have found the benefits of hosting such plants to be attractive.
Possible candidates that may replace Iwane are Takashi Morimoto and Toyokazu Misono.
Meanwhile, the company’s stock closed up 2.5% amid the news. It was against a 0.6% decline in the Nikkei benchmark average share price.
However, the stock is still down 13% since the graft scandal broke the news.