Governor imprisoned for bribery, fined 120 million yen

A former governor of Miyagi Prefecture was sentenced Mar. 21 to 2 1/2 years in prison and fined 120 million yen for accepting 120 million yen in bribes from two companies while he was in office.

Masaki Wakahara, the presiding judge at the Tokyo District Court, said that by accepting bribes, Shuntaro Honma, 57, greatly damaged public trust in local administration. Honma became the second defendant in a Miyagi Prefecture bribery scandal to have been handed a prison term. He follows Toru Ishii, 71, a former Sendai mayor who was given three years. Ishii has appealed the decision. Honma’s defense counsel said later it will consider appealing the ruling.

At the same time, the court sentenced Mitsuo Moriya, 69, a former official of the Liberal Democratic Party’s Miyagi prefectural chapter, to two years in prison in connection with the same bribery offense. According to the ruling, Honma received a 20 million yen bribe in January 1993 from Takashi Hashimoto, 61, then vice president of Taisei Corp., and two other executives of the major construction company. In return, Honma helped the firm win contracts for the construction of a Miyagi prefectural cancer center hospital.

Hashimoto has already received a two-year prison term, suspended for four years.