• Kyodo

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A former professor of the University of Tokushima’s medical department was handed a suspended 30-month prison term Thursday for defrauding the government out of some 31 million yen in subsidies.

In handing down the sentence, which was suspended for three years, presiding Judge Makoto Okada said Akinori Hisashige, 53, abused his position and called the crime “premeditated and malicious.”

“The act undermined the public trust in universities, and the impact it had on the subsidy system cannot be ignored,” Okada said.

However, he also said Hisashige had shown remorse.

According to the court, Hisashige received some 49 million yen in government subsidies between fiscal 1997 and fiscal 1999 for health and welfare-related scientific studies.

He then conspired with an instructor at the university to forge documents regarding expenses, including for expendable supplies and wages for part-time workers, to make it appear that the full amount had been used. Charges against the instructor were suspended.

The documents were submitted to the Health and Welfare Ministry. As a result, some 31 million yen was falsely claimed.

During the trial, prosecutors said Hisashige had failed to return some 74 million yen in subsidies since fiscal 1994, and part of the money had been used to purchase artwork and for travel.

The defense counsel had asked for a suspended sentence, saying there were problems with the subsidy program itself, in that the disbursement of the funds was so slow that some form of fudging of the books became necessary.

After the ruling, Hisashige issued a statement apologizing to the public for his actions.

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