Former Mayor Tateo Sakurai of Yasato, Ibaraki Prefecture, was given a three-year prison term, suspended for five years, and fined 25 million yen for taking bribes from contractors to help them land municipal public works projects.

According to the court, Sakurai was asked sometime between December 1994 and May 1995 by two contractors who supported him in Yasato mayoral elections to help them win contracts to build a municipal health center. Sakurai asked for 20 million yen in cash for complying with the contractors’ request, and after receiving the money, he told them the price at which the municipal government would award the project contracts in public bidding, the court said.

The former mayor was also found to have taken 4 million yen from two other contractors for qualifying them as bidders for municipal public works contracts. Sakurai also took 1 million yen in bribes from landowners and others when the municipal government purchased plots adjacent to the local government compound, according to the ruling.

A total of 13 figures, including six Yasato assemblymen, were indicted in the bribery case, and five contractors have been found guilty of paying bribes.

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