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Former Nishimatsu Construction Co. President Mikio Kunisawa pleaded guilty Friday to charges in connection with a political funding scandal that cost Democratic Party of Japan chief Ichiro Ozawa his job last month.

During his first trial session at the Tokyo District Court, prosecutors demanded 18 months imprisonment for Kunisawa, 70, claiming Ozawa’s office acted as “the voice of heaven” in deciding the winners of bids for public works projects in Iwate and Akita prefectures.

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