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The hearing in the trial of Mr. Mikio Kunisawa, the former Nishimatsu Construction Co. president charged with violating the Political Funds Control Law, began and was concluded on the same day last Friday. Mr. Kunisawa, who was indicted on a charge of providing ¥5 million in illegal political donations around October 2006 to the fund management organization of Mr. Ichiro Ozawa, former head of the Democratic Party of Japan, pleaded guilty, and the prosecution demanded 18 months’ imprisonment. A ruling is expected July 14.

During the hearing, the prosecution alleged that the office of Mr. Ozawa exerted a strong influence over determining the winners among bidders on public works projects in Iwate and Akita prefectures. The prosecution said this influence over public works projects began in Iwate Prefecture in the 1980s and then extended to Akita Prefecture in the late 1990s.

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