The Tokyo District Court sentenced former Tokushima Gov. Toshio Endo to a suspended three-year prison term Friday and fined him 8 million yen for bribery.

Prosecutors had demanded a three-year prison term without suspension and a fine of 8 million yen. The term, however, was suspended for four years.

According to the court, Endo, 59, received 8 million yen in bribes in June 1997 and August 2000 from Mitsuro Ozaki, 57, a Tokyo consultant, and Wahei Nishimura, 47, former senior managing director of a construction company in Tokushima Prefecture, for providing favors in connection with public works projects in the prefecture.

The court handed Nishimura a suspended 18-month prison term. Prosecutors had demanded 18 months, but the sentence was suspended for three years.

Ozaki had also promised Endo in May 2001 that he would get another 10 million yen in connection with another public works project, prosecutors said.

Presiding Judge Shoichi Yagi said Endo’s actions betrayed the public’s trust in the governorship, but noted that the defendant only told senior prefectural officials of Ozaki’s wishes in brief, and it could not be determined that his actions adversely affected the actual bidding process.

Endo told a news conference after the ruling that while he was grateful to have been given a suspended sentence, “I must offer my deep apologies, because my actions amplified the public’s distrust of politics and administration.”

He added that he has no concrete plans for the future, but said he expects his life to center around Tokushima, as his parents need to be looked after.

At his first trial session before the Tokyo District Court in July, Endo pleaded guilty, saying, “I extend my deepest apology for betraying the trust of the people of the prefecture.”

He resigned as governor on March 15 after his arrest March 4. Prior to his arrest, he denied before the prefectural assembly that he had received any bribes.

During Friday’s news conference, Endo reiterated that he had believed the money to be a political donation from a good friend.

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