The Tokyo District Court on Tuesday sentenced a 59-year-old company president to two years in prison, suspended for three years, for selling counterfeit Japan Tobacco Inc. brand cigarettes.

Fumio Sasai, president of Tokyo-based real estate company Yazaki Sangyo, was found guilty of violating a law regulating the tobacco business.

Presiding Judge Mamoru Takatsu said consumers of JT cigarettes were alarmed when news of the counterfeit sales broke.

Takatsu acknowledged, however, that while Sasai knowingly sold the counterfeit products, he had not been aware they were counterfeit when he bought them.

According to the ruling, Sasai sold 53,000 packs of counterfeit cigarettes, bearing the popular Mild Seven Lights and Seven Stars brand names, to a man for around 9.3 million yen at his Tokyo office in mid-June.

The two brands are among JT’s best-selling products.

Sasai bought the counterfeit products from Sadayoshi Amamiya, who is believed to have smuggled them into Japan from China.

Amamiya was sentenced to 21/2 in prison, suspended for four years, in October.

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