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Former House of Councilors member Masakuni Murakami, accused of taking bribes from mutual-aid foundation KSD, received a spring bonus of around 870,000 yen for work he completed before quitting the Diet over the scandal in late February, Diet sources said Wednesday. Murakami, 68, who has been charged with accepting some 72 million yen from the small-business insurance foundation, received 80 percent of the total spring bonus that is paid to serving Diet members. According to the law relating to allowances for Diet members, bonuses are paid to Diet members three times a year.

Murakami, who stepped down Feb. 26, received a large chunk of the bonus, which would have totaled 1.1 million yen.

Another former Upper House member indicted in the scandal, Takao Koyama, 57, did not receive a bonus, however, as he resigned on Jan. 29, more than one month before March 1.

Politicians are entitled to the entire spring bonus if they are in office as of March 1. They receive part if they have worked within a month before that date.

Payments to lawmakers involved in crimes have provoked controversy.

Tatsuo Tomobe, 72, an Upper House member who is appealing a fraud conviction handed down by the Tokyo High Court, has refused to resign and is currently being paid an annual salary of more than 30 million yen — even though he has not been working as a lawmaker.

Tomobe, who was arrested in January 1997, was found to have solicited 660 million yen in donations to a nonexistent charity between 1994 and 1996, in a conspiracy with his wife and friends.

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