• Kyodo


A 65-year-old former chairman of a town assembly in Yamagata Prefecture was given a suspended prison term Monday for vote-buying and attempting to bribe a police officer during an interrogation.

Suketaro Otaki, former chairman of the municipal assembly of Mikawa, was given a 18-month term in prison, suspended for four years.

According to the court, Otaki distributed roughly 140,000 yen worth of gifts, including beer coupons, to voters in the town during a town assembly election in June 2003.

When he was being questioned by police in May over his alleged vote-buying, Otaki tried to hand one of the investigators an envelope containing 100,000 yen in cash, asking him for a leniency in the probe into his case.

He has since been tried on the charges of bribery and violation of the Public Offices Election Law. He resigned from the town assembly following his arrest.

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