Hyogo mayor held over bribery

Kyodo News

The mayor of Takarazuka, Hyogo Prefecture, was arrested Thursday for allegedly taking ¥1 million in bribes in April 2006 from a management consulting company, police said.

The president of the consultancy, Eitaro Nishioka, 69, allegedly asked Mayor Yoshihide Sakaue, 61, to get a company involved in a project for building a public cemetery, the police said. The name of the company was not specified.

The project was managed by a city-affiliated public corporation.

Police also arrested Nishioka and former city assembly member Hitoshi Inoue, 64, for allegedly arranging the bribe.

Sakaue claimed that he received the money as a political donation, although it was not listed in his annual political funds management report, as required by law.

He said he kept the money at home and returned it to the president of the consulting firm via Inoue around January 2007.

“I judged that it was inappropriate to receive the money,” Sakaue said, explaining why he returned the cash.