• Kyodo

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Prosecutors in the trial of a 70-year-old Japanese politician accused of attempting to smuggle illegal drugs out of China called for the death penalty to be considered as an option for sentencing if he is convicted.

Takuma Sakuragi, a member of the Inazawa Municipal Assembly in Aichi Prefecture, could also receive life imprisonment or a 15-year prison term. He has been on trial at the Guangzhou Intermediate People’s Court in Guangzhou since Tuesday.

Sakuragi was taken into custody on Oct. 31 last year after about 3.3 kg of methamphetamine were found in his suitcase during a baggage check at Guangzhou’s Baiyun airport on his way back to Japan via Shanghai.

His lawyer told reporters Wednesday there is “not even one objective piece of evidence” to suggest that the politician knew about the stimulant drugs in his suitcase that led to his arrest.

He had traveled to Guangzhou, the capital and the largest city in Guangdong Province, on business for a trading company he owns.

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