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A former official of the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency was sentenced Friday to two years in prison and fined 22 million yen for taking bribes for leaking government information.

Toshiyuki Takahashi, who was a deputy division chief, was found guilty by the Tokyo District Court of taking 22 million yen in bribes from two former company executives between 1998 and last year in return for government information on nuclear plants and other data.

Presiding Judge Shogo Kawaguchi said, “The process by which he voluntarily asked for bribes was extremely vicious and created distrust of the government’s nuclear policy among the people.”

Takahashi, 45, had entered a guilty plea and apologized. His lawyers asked for a lenient sentence, saying he has already received stiff social sanctions by being dismissed from the agency, an affiliate of the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry.

He immediately appealed the ruling to the Tokyo High Court.

Prosecutors had demanded three years in prison and a fine equal to the bribes he accepted.

According to the court, Takahashi, who had large debts, asked Osamu Ishikura, 52, president of a waste-management company, and Yoshinori Okamoto, 40, a board member of a computer software company, for financial help.

He accepted the bribes in return for information on computerized designs of nuclear plant facilities, desalination projects and other industrial data, the court found.

Ishikura and Okamoto, who were charged with bribing Takahashi, were also found guilty Friday.

The court sentenced Ishikura to two years in prison suspended for four years, and Okamoto to 18 months in prison, suspended for three years.

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