• Kyodo

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Two former aides to Liberal Democratic Party lawmaker Yuko Obuchi have pleaded guilty to falsifying reports for her political fund management body and three other organizations.

Kenichiro Orita, 67, a former mayor of Nakanojo, Gunma Prefecture, and Moriyoshi Kabe, 62, who was in charge of accounting at the fund management body, did not contest the charge against them during the first session of their case Monday at the Tokyo District Court.

Prosecutors asked for two years in prison for Orita and one year for Kabe, branding their acts as a premeditated attempt to conceal their sloppy money management.

The court plans to issue its ruling Oct. 9.

In late April, Orita and Kabe were indicted on a charge of making false entries in funding reports in violation of the political funds control law. Obuchi, who resigned as trade minister last year after claims of irregularities in her funding reports, was spared indictment due to a lack of evidence.

Prosecutors allege that Orita and Kabe padded expenditures in the reports by faking donations to related political groups in an attempt to compensate for off-the-book expenditures in the past.

They suspect that such false entries totaled ¥320 million between 2009 and 2013.

Obuchi, a Lower House member representing a district in Gunma, is the second daughter of Keizo Obuchi, who died in May 2000 after serving as prime minister from 1998 to 2000.

In June, a citizens’ group filed a request with an independent judicial panel of 11 citizens seeking Obuchi’s indictment. If at least eight panel members vote in favor of indictment, the prosecutors will have to reinvestigate the case.

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