OSAKA — Wakayama Mayor Yoshihiro Ozaki was arrested Monday evening on suspicion of receiving 1 million yen in bribes in exchange for favoring an applicant for a municipal job.

The Osaka District Public Prosecutor’s Office said Tuesday that Ozaki, 62, received the cash last November from two relatives of a woman who took a city recruitment test.

Nobutaka Tsumoto, 50, chief of the city’s secretariat, and the two relatives, both municipal employees, were also arrested Monday. The relatives were identified as Shigenobu Yano, 49, and his sister, Etsuko Nishiyama, 50.

Ozaki and the others arrested were taken to the Osaka District Detention House early Tuesday for further questioning. Prosecutors plan to question the mayor on what specific favors he gave to the applicant — Yano’s eldest daughter, investigative sources said.

Last year, about 250 high school and two-year college graduates took exams for city jobs. Seven of the applicants passed the tests and six others, including the woman in question, who was not named, were listed as alternates.

The alleged bribes surfaced as prosecutors investigated the mayor in connection with a loan scandal and a real estate development case in the neighboring city of Sennan, Osaka Prefecture, the sources said. Prosecutors have raided the mayor’s house twice to look for evidence in the two cases.

Investigators allege that Ozaki stipulated receiving the money in his office, telling those who gave the bribes that it is the safest place to commit wrongdoing.

In a time of both misinformation and too much information, quality journalism is more crucial than ever.
By subscribing, you can help us get the story right.