The Justice Ministry decided Thursday to reprimand the public prosecutor general over a bribery and fraud scandal involving a former senior official of the Osaka High Public Prosecutor’s Office, Justice Minister Mayumi Moriyama said.
It is unprecedented for the nation’s top prosecutor to be reprimanded.
The punishment will officially be decided at Friday’s Cabinet meeting after Justice Minister Mayumi Moriyama obtains approval from Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi. The Cabinet is responsible for appointing top prosecutors.
Under the plan, Supreme Public Prosecutor’s Office Public Prosecutor General Akio Harada will be reprimanded for neglecting to supervise Tamaki Mitsui, 57, who was indicted earlier Thursday on charges of accepting bribes from a gangster in return for providing information related to an investigation.
Mitsui, head of the Osaka office’s public security department, was fired over the scandal May 10.
“It is indeed unprecedented for the prosecutor general to be reprimanded, but I thought it would be the appropriate measures as the matter is utterly preposterous and unheard of,” Moriyama told a news conference.
When asked how to take responsibility herself, however, Moriyama said she has no intention of taking such steps as returning her pay.
Shinichiro Tojo, superintending public prosecutor at the Osaka High Prosecutor’s Office, will face a 10 percent pay cut for a month to take responsibility. Due to retire June 16, Tojo asked Moriyama not to pay his salary for June and she accepted his offer.
Kiyoaki Otsuka, deputy superintending public prosecutor at the Osaka office, will face a 10 percent pay cut for three months.
While attributing the cause of the incident to the highly peculiar nature of Mitsui, Moriyama instructed the prosecutor general to tighten discipline and hold an extraordinary meeting by superintendent prosecutors next week.
Moriyama also pledged to step up efforts to take appropriate measures for personnel appointments of prosecutors, review the prosecutor’s office as a whole and revise relevant rules to track down prosecutors’ inquiries about one’s criminal records.
Mitsui was arrested in April and charged May 10 with conspiring with gangsters to prove he was occupying a condo in Kobe by submitting a fake moving-in notification to a ward office last summer in a bid to receive tax breaks.
Mitsui is suspected of accepting a gangster’s invitation to be entertained in expensive nightclubs in Kobe and Osaka in return for leaking information about the prosecutor’s office’s investigation. The entertainment cost some 240,000 yen from June to July 2001, prosecutors said.
Before his arrest in April, Mitsui was preparing to accuse senior prosecutors of misusing public funds to obtain information from informants, and has been claiming that the prosecutors unlawfully arrested him to make him quiet, his lawyer and other informed sources said earlier.
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