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Japan Announces Measures Against Information Leakage in Bidding Process

2019/12/25 17:31
Kenji Kaneko, Nikkei BP Intelligence Group, CleanTech Labo
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Leak occurs in bidding process in 1st half of fiscal 2019

A meeting of the Calculation Committee for Procurement Price, Etc, which is for discussing the FIT-based purchasing prices of renewable energy, took place Dec 24, 2019. In the meeting, measures against the leakage of information concerning participants in bidding from a designated bidding institution were announced and approved by committee members.

This issue came to light because of a report from a participant in the bidding Nov 28, 2019. It was possible to access the information of other participants (e.g. capacity and bidding price) by carrying out specific operations on the website for the bidding process of the designated bidding institution (Green Investment Promotion Organization, GIO).

Japan's Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) promptly shut down the system, contacted participants and started to find the whole picture of the leakage case and its cause. And it announced an interim report Dec 20, 2019. According to the report, 396 cases that have applied for participation in the bidding were leaked. The undisclosed upper price limits were not leaked.

As for the cause of the leakage, METI concluded that a human-caused error occurred at a subcontractor that repaired the system in regard to the settings of access authorization for the website. METI said that it will thoroughly examine the security of the information system.

This time, information regarding the fourth bidding for solar power plants (the first half of fiscal 2019), the fifth bidding for solar power plants (the second half of fiscal 2019) and the second bidding for biomass power plants (the second half of fiscal 2019) was leaked. Commenting on the fourth bidding for solar power plants, which has already been done, METI said, "The upper price limits were not leaked. And, judging from access status, bidding behavior, time of the bidding and deviation, there is no evidence to prove that fair bidding was inhibited."