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Former Mayor Mitsuo Ishii of Komae, Tokyo, who stepped down last June after amassing huge gambling debts, pleaded guilty April 15 to charges of bribe-taking in his first trial hearing before the Hachioji branch of the Tokyo District Court.

According to the indictment, Ishii accepted 2 million yen at his home from Noboru Wada, president of Goko Construction Co., around April 9 last year for accepting Goko’s bid for a municipal construction contract. Ishii is a descendant of leading landowners in Komae and was first elected to the mayoral post after serving as president of a construction company and a municipal assemblyman. However, he suddenly quit during his third term in office last June.

It was later determined that he was saddled with 3 billion yen in debts after losing heavily in gambling in South Korea. In the mayoral election held after his resignation, Komae became the first municipality to elect a mayor from the Japanese Communist Party.

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