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Michio Sato, a former House of Councilors member and senior prosecutor, died of pneumonia Wednesday evening at a Yokohama hospital, sources close to him said Thursday. He was 76.

He was known for his contribution to the 1972 indictment of a Mainichi Shimbun reporter, who was convicted of soliciting a Foreign Ministry secretary for classified documents on Japan-U.S. talks over the reversion of Okinawa. Sato said the reporter “secretly had an affair” with the secretary.

After serving as chief of the Sapporo High Public Prosecutor’s Office, he won an Upper House seat in 1995, and retired as a Democratic Party of Japan member in 2007.

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