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House of Representatives member Kensaku Morita avoided losing his Diet seat Tuesday, as his former secretary was only fined, not jailed, for vote-buying in the June general election.

Morita, 50, would have lost his seat under the Public Offices Election Law if Shoichi Iwashita, 48, had been imprisoned.

The Tokyo Summary Court on Tuesday ordered Iwashita to pay a 500,000 yen fine following the filing of a summary indictment earlier in the day by the Tokyo District Public Prosecutor’s Office on charges of violating the Election Law.

Public prosecutors filed a summary indictment because Iwashita admitted the charges and because his crime was relatively minor, the prosecutors said.

The former secretary was arrested in late August on suspicion of trying to give 500,000 yen to one local assembly member and 200,000 yen to another around May while he was Morita’s government-funded secretary, asking them to round up votes for him.

Morita, a former member of the Liberal Democratic Party and a member of the small parliamentary group 21st Century Club, was elected from Tokyo’s No. 4 single-seat constituency. The LDP headquarters did not give him party authorization at the election.

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