Prosecutors on Friday sought a three-year prison term for former Upper House lawmaker Takao Koyama, who is accused of accepting 31.6 million yen in bribes from the mutual-aid foundation KSD between 1996 and 2000.

During the trial session at the Tokyo District Court, prosecutors also demanded that Koyama, 58, pay a fine of 31.6 million yen.

One prosecutor said Koyama had committed a serious crime in which he “virtually sold off his authority as a House of Councilors member and duties as the parliamentary vice labor minister.”

The prosecutor added that Koyama had “severely damaged public confidence in national politics.”

The prosecution team added that the disgraced former lawmaker should endure stiff punishment, stating that he had showed no remorse and had repeatedly made irrational excuses and denied that he had peddled influence at the request of KSD.

Prosecutors claim Koyama received 20 million yen in cash from KSD before the 1996 Lower House election in return for asking questions for the foundation’s benefit at an Upper House panel.

In an earlier trial session, Koyama had said: “We, Upper House members, also face (financial) difficulties as general elections near because we have to help supply election funds for our colleagues in the House of Representatives. I think KSD tacitly understood what I needed.”

He allegedly received the money from Tadao Koseki, 81, founder and former director of KSD, in October 1996, according to the indictment.

Koyama is also charged with having a KSD affiliate shoulder 11.6 million yen in salary payments for his two private secretaries between April 1999 and September 2000.

The money was a reward for Koyama, then parliamentary vice minister of the old Labor Ministry, who had lobbied to increase government subsidies for the Institute of Technologists around October 1998.

The school was supported by KSD, the indictment says.

In previous sessions, Koyama admitted to having accepted the bribes and apologized to the public for provoking political distrust.

He denied asking questions at the Upper House panel on labor affairs on behalf of KSD, however, saying he “followed his political convictions” in doing so.

Koseki has pleaded guilty to bribery charges and received a three-year prison term, suspended for five years.

Former Labor Minister Masakuni Murakami, 69, is also standing trial, charged with accepting 72 million yen in bribes from KSD between 1996 and 1998. He has pleaded not guilty to the charge.

Koyama worked for Murakami as a secretary before becoming an Upper House member.

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