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    YUZHNO-SAKHALINSK, April 5, 2004 (RIA Novosti) - Authorities in Sakhalin are concerned that the Japanese companies in the region employ people with criminal records.

    The regional administration press center told RIA Novosti on Monday that Ivan Malakhov, the governor of Sakhalin, met with the heads of the Japanese companies that are constructing a plant for liquefying natural gas in southern Sakhalin.

    At the meeting the governor told Nobuo Seki, the president of Chiyoda, and Toshihiko Hirose, the president of Toyo Engineering, that he was concerned that their contractors and subcontractors employ people with criminal records. He said that this considerably worsened the crime situation on the island.

    Mr. Malakhov also drew the attention of the Japanese executives to the poor living conditions of the workers, which has resulted in a sharp increase of gastrointestinal illnesses.

    In order to preserve their business reputation, the Japanese companies should supervise their contractors better, Mr. Malakhov noted.

    Nobuo Seki and Toshihiko Hirose assured the governor that they would visit Sakhalin more often in order to supervise construction of the plant. They promised to regularly inform the administration of the region about the results of measures they take to solve the problems that the governor raised.

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