• Kyodo

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A former mayor of Kamagaya in Chiba Prefecture was sentenced to two years in prison Friday for taking bribes from a construction firm via an aide to Yutaka Inoue, president of the House of Councilors, while he was in office in 2000.

The Chiba District Court also fined Keiichiro Minagawa 10 million yen — equal to the amount of bribes was accused of receiving.

His lawyers immediately filed an appeal.

According to the court, Minagawa received the 10 million yen spread out over three occasions between January 2000 and March the same year.

He received the money at his office.

The court said Minagawa was asked by Inoue’s former secretary to help the major construction firm Kumagai Gumi Co. win a contract to build a recreational facility in the prefecture.

Minagawa, 51, had denied taking bribes, claiming that he was not asked to exercise his influence and that he did not receive any money.

Prosecutors had demanded a prison sentence of three years and six months and a 10 million yen fine.

The bribe was prepared by a Kumagai Gumi subcontractor, Shinto Kensetsu, which has since gone bankrupt.

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