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Prosecutors not to indict M'bishi officials over condo pollution.

OSAKA, June 10 Kyodo

Osaka prosecutors decided Friday not to indict the presidents of Mitsubishi Estate Co. and Mitsubishi Materials Corp., as well as eight others, over their alleged involvement in the sale of condominiums in Osaka by concealing the fact that the premises were contaminated with toxic heavy metals, sources familiar with the case said.

The prosecutors also decided not to press charges against the two companies, a move that helps Mitsubishi Estate to avert a worst-case scenario of its realty business license being revoked.

Police had sent papers to the prosecutors on Mitsubishi Estate President Shigeru Takagi, 66, Mitsubishi Materials President Akira Nishikawa, 70, and the eight others, as well as on the two firms, for selling condos in the Osaka Amenity Park in alleged violation of the Building Lots and Buildings Transaction Business Law.

The park is a multi-purpose complex in Kita Ward built by Mitsubishi Estate and Mitsubishi Materials in 2001.

In making the decision against the indictment, the prosecutors said they took into consideration the fact that the two companies officially admitted to selling the condos by concealing the contamination and that they offered apologies over the incident.

They also apparently took into account the fact that Takagi and Nishikawa decided to step down as presidents to take responsibility for the concealment and that the companies and the residents of the condos reached a settlement agreement.

The condos in the complex were sold from December 2001 to August 2002 without informing purchasers of the fact that such heavy metals as arsenic, selenium and cadmium exceeding Japanese environmental standards had been detected on the premises.

The fact came to light in September 2002.

Mitsubishi Estate and Mitsubishi Materials had initially said they had considered the contamination was not a type of important fact the law requires property sellers to explain to buyers in advance.

The law mandates that property sellers inform buyers of important facts that could undercut properties' values.

The condominium buildings in question have about 450 units.

But the companies admitted on May 27, when Mitsubishi Estate announced Takagi's resignation, that their failure to explain the contamination was a violation of the law and apologized.

Under the settlement agreement with the residents, the two companies agreed to pay a total 7.5 billion yen as settlement money.
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Publication:Japan Weekly Monitor
Date:Jun 13, 2005
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