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The Supreme Court no longer possesses official documents on the 1970s payoff involving Lockheed Corp. and then Prime Minister Kakuei Tanaka, court officials said Monday.

They said the Supreme Court might have thrown away its copies of the documents, including records of how the court had approved a 1976 decision by prosecutors not to indict officials of the U.S. aerospace company, and other records related to the case.

Court officials said the Supreme Court no longer has the documents in its archives. They said they have no idea why the records have disappeared or even what kind of records they once had.

The loss of the documents was discovered in 2001, when Hisashi Muto, 43, a social welfare worker, sought access to them based on the information disclosure law.

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