• Kyodo

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A senior official of the Ishikawa Prefectural Government was arrested Saturday on suspicion of accepting more than 1 million yen in bribes from a real estate company in return for offering information on land transactions, police said.

Masahiko Yamada, 53, admitted receiving the cash from Akira Yamazaki, president of the real estate firm, Up Joy, but denied it was a bribe, the police said.

The police also arrested Yamazaki, 47, for allegedly bribing Yamada, chief of the prefecture’s industrial promotion section.

In May, Yamada lost a court case in which he and a number of other local officials were accused by residents of being wined and dined by executives of a company investing in the prefecture. He has appealed the ruling.

The police also searched the Ishikawa government office and the homes of the two suspects for evidence.

Yamada allegedly accepted the cash from Yamazaki on two occasions — in October 2000 and in April this year — in return for offering him information on land transaction deals involving a company in neighboring Toyama Prefecture that planned to build a construction materials wholesale store in Kaga, Ishikawa Prefecture.

Yamada allegedly gave Yamazaki information on a land seller in 1998 and on a buyer in 1999, helping him obtain 28 million yen in commission charges in the deals.

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