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Eight arrested in Japan quake scandal

Written by: Staff
|

TOKYO, Apr 26 (Reuters) An architect at the centre of a Japanese scandal over fabricating data on buildings' ability to withstand earthquakes was one of eight people arrested in connection with the case today.

The scandal, in which quake-resistance data was falsified for scores of apartment buildings and hotels to leave them vulnerable to even moderate tremors, outraged the public in earthquake-prone Japan.

Hidetsugu Aneha, 48, was arrested on suspicion of allowing his name to be used by an architectural designer in planning documents for several buildings.

The other men arrested included the president of a construction firm that had been one of Aneha's clients.

Media reports said the men were arrested on charges not directly related to the scandal in hopes of probing more deeply into the case.

Aneha, who was later stripped of his architect's licence, admitted last year to falsifying data for nearly 100 apartment buildings and hotels to save costs.

In testimony before parliament last December, he said he had failed to resist pressure to violate laws out of fear that he would lose business, adding that his wife was in poor health.

Aneha's wife was found dead last month next to an apartment building near her home. Media reports quoted police as saying she was thought to have jumped from the building.

Japan accounts for about 20 per cent of the world's earthquakes of magnitude 6 or greater, and memories are still vivid of a 1995 quake that killed more than 6,400 people in the western city of Kobe.

REUTERS KD KP1144

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