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A former vice president of the Japanese Trade Union Confederation (Rengo) pleaded guilty Thursday to taking bribes while serving on a government advisory panel.

Katsutoshi Kato, 60, entered the plea at the opening session of his Tokyo District Court trial.

Kato is charged with receiving 1.4 million yen worth of bribes in the form of cash, services and goods from executives of the Japan Dental Association on several occasions from April 2001 to October 2002.

kATO, then a member of the Central Social Insurance Medical Council, was asked to help increase dental service fees, according to the indictment. The council is a government panel that gives advice to the health minister on fees for dental services.

Kato told the court that the charges are “absolutely true.”

He lost his job at Rengo, the nation’s largest labor organization, after he was arrested in April.

During the day’s session, prosecutors explained how Kato was wined and dined by dental association people on six occasions as they tried to win the council’s support for their bid to increase dental service fees.

On one of the occasions, the bribe was given to Kato in the form of “taxi fees” of 100,000 yen following a dinner, while in another the labor official received a coupon for a tailor-made suit worth some 500,000 yen after he promised cooperation to the dental association, according to the prosecutors.

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