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The Tokyo District Court on July 15 sentenced four “sokaiya” corporate racketeers to prison terms of three to five months and gave two others suspended sentences for receiving payoffs from Ajinomoto Co., the food seasoning firm, in violation of the Commercial Code.

Kazumasa Takada, 46, was sentenced to five months in prison, while 47-year-old Shozo Nakamura was given a four-month term. Kaishoku An, 51, and Yasuo Kushida, 50, were each sentenced to three months. Akio Imaoka, 43, was given a four-month sentence suspended for four years and Reizo Shinzaki, 45, a four-month term suspended for three years.

All six were found guilty of violating the Commercial Code, which prohibits companies from paying unauthorized financial benefits to shareholders. It also bars shareholders, including sokaiya, from making demands for such benefits.

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