• Kyodo

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A woman who was registered as a government-paid secretary to arrested former Home Affairs Minister Kanju Sato in January returned her government retirement bonus out of guilt because she did not actually work for him, investigative sources said Tuesday.

Aichi Prefectural Police have discovered that the 51-year-old woman returned about 500,000 yen to Sato’s office in January. The House of Representatives had deposited the bonus into her bank account in June.

Meanwhile, the police sent Sato, a 62-year-old former Lower House lawmaker, and two others, to prosecutors.

They are suspected of embezzling 17 million yen in salary payments intended for the woman.

Sato resigned from the Diet and was expelled from the Democratic Party of Japan last week.

The two others are Sato’s wife, Miyoko, who also was his government-funded secretary, and the woman’s husband, Seiki Asada, a 66-year-old associate of Sato and former head of the Bisai Municipal Assembly in Aichi Prefecture.

“I returned the money because I shouldn’t have accepted it,” Asada’s wife was quoted as telling police. “I did not want Sato to use my name (as his secretary).”

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