• Kyodo

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Masanori Arai, a former House of Representatives member from the Liberal Democratic Party, pleaded guilty Thursday to charges of buying votes in the Nov. 9 general election.

In his first trial session before the Saitama District Court, Arai, 48, admitted violating the Public Offices Election Law.

Arai stands accused of giving his campaign manager, Ikuo Sunagawa, 55, 5 million yen in cash from state subsidies last October for a vote-buying operation.

Arai conspired with Sunagawa to give a total of 1.8 million yen of the funds to 18 LDP officials in his constituency, and another 360,000 yen to nine other supporters, it said.

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