• Kyodo

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A senior prosecutor arrested for alleged involvement in evidence-tampering said during a rare interview at the Osaka Detention House that if he is indicted he will give a thorough explanation in court.

Detained suspects who deny guilt are usually only allowed to meet with their lawyers.

Motoaki Saga, 49, former deputy chief of the special investigation squad of the Osaka District Public Prosecutor’s Office, was arrested Friday on suspicion of covering up destruction of evidence by a subordinate during an investigation into alleged abuse of postal discounts for disabled people.

His former supervisor, Hiromichi Otsubo, 57, was also arrested over the alleged tampering.

The case broke when Tsunehiko Maeda, 43, was arrested last month for allegedly altering data on a confiscated floppy disk to improve the chances of a guilty verdict against health ministry bureaucrat Atsuko Muraki, who was indicted and then cleared in the postal abuse scandal.

The Supreme Public Prosecutor’s Office demanded that Saga and Otsubo only be allowed interviews with their lawyers, but the Osaka District Court ruled otherwise and let Saga meet with a reporter.

During the interview, Saga indicated he is resigned to being indicted, saying it is “unlikely” prosecutors will not bring charges against someone they have arrested. “I know it as I have done it,” he said.

Asked if he will continue to maintain his innocence in court, Saga said, “I will explain what I know in a straightforward manner, although I have been questioned about what I don’t know in one way or another.”

He also said he will wait and see how his explanations are judged in court.

Saga said he is not denying guilt just to protect Otsubo, his former supervisor in the Osaka special investigation squad.

On being behind bars, Saga said: “I don’t know what time it is as I don’t have a watch here. I don’t read newspapers, either.”

The reporter applied for the interview and Saga accepted his request. The interview lasted about 10 minutes.

Saga was heading an investigative department at the Kobe District Public Prosecutor’s Office and Otsubo was deputy chief prosecutor at the Kyoto District Public Prosecutor’s Office before their arrests.

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