• Kyodo

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A former House of Representatives member of the Liberal Democratic Party pleaded guilty Tuesday to bribing voters in November’s general election.

Prosecutors demanded a two-year prison term for Hiroshi Kondo in the opening session of his trial at the Nagoya District Court.

Deliberations on the case were closed in one day, with the court scheduled to hand down its ruling May 25.

According to the indictment, the 43-year-old Kondo handed 1 million yen in cash to one of his campaign aides in October and ordered him to buy votes for the Nov. 9 election.

Part of the money was then transferred to other campaign supporters, including a secretary to a Nagoya Municipal Assembly member and an aide to a House of Councilors member.

Kondo lost the single-seat constituency contest in the Aichi No. 4 district — but was elected to the Lower House anyway as he was also listed on the LDP’s proportional representation roster.

Kondo was arrested Dec. 6 and resigned from the Lower House three days later.

“(The facts stated in the indictment) are correct,” Kondo told the court.

In their statement, prosecutors said there was no room for leniency, asserting that Kondo had “simplistically” chosen to bribe voters to win a Diet seat.

In a previous trial focusing on the campaign worker, prosecutors said that Kondo, as an LDP candidate, was under pressure to capture a seat in Nagoya, a strong foothold for the Democratic Party of Japan.

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