Bribes buy ex-mayor suspended term

The Tokyo District Court handed the former mayor of a western Tokyo municipality a suspended three-year prison term Wednesday for his acceptance of bribes both before and after taking office.

The ruling handed down by the Hachioji branch of the district court also fined Tama’s former mayor, Kunihiko Suzuki, 12 million yen.

Prosecutors had demanded a 12 million yen fine and three-year custodial term for 45-year-old Suzuki.

Suzuki, whose sentence is suspended for five years, admitted taking bribes.

In handing down the ruling, Judge Kiyoshi Kimura said that although Suzuki had caused the public to lose trust in the mayor’s office, he had not instigated the bribes.

In the same ruling, Mitsugu Kanamori, a Suzuki supporter, was sentenced to a suspended 18-month prison term and hit with a 4 million yen fine.

Kanamori’s prison term is suspended for four years.

A former member of the Machida Municipal Assembly, 60-year-old Kanamori was charged over his involvement in Suzuki’s bribe-taking activities before he become mayor.

Four other accomplices in the two bribery cases were also sentenced to suspended 18-month prison terms.

This quartet includes 58-year-old Ryo Tsuyukubo, former president of a sewerage construction firm; and 53-year-old Masami Masuda, president of a Tokyo waste-collection company.

Prosecutors had demanded 18-month terms for all four.

According to the court, in January 1999, Suzuki accepted a bribe of 10 million yen from Tsuyukubo in exchange for postelection favors relating to public construction projects commissioned by the city.

Suzuki was first elected mayor in April the same year.

Suzuki also accepted 6 million yen in bribes from Masuda in October 1999, according to the court.