TOKYO (TR) – A court here has sentenced Hiromi Tsukuda, the former mayor of Ito City, Shizuoka Prefecture, to two years in prison for bribery related to the purchase of land located in the municipality, reports the Nikkei Shimbun (Mar. 18).
According to the ruling, Tsukuda, 72, received a total of about 13 million yen in bribes from Keijiro Mori, the 48-year-old former president of a real estate company, and Hiroshi Inaba, a 50-year-old employee at a company in Kawasaki City, Kanagawa Prefecture, on several occasions between late August and early September, 2015.
In return, the Ito Municipal Government purchased the 4,000-square-meter parcel, which once housed a hotel, from the real estate company for 200 million yen at around the time the bribery took place. The year before, the real estate company purchased the property for only 50 million yen, previous reports said.
In handing down the ruling at the Tokyo District Court on March 18, presiding judge Kenichi Nagabuchi said that Tsukuda’s deeds had result in a “loss of public trust.”
At the opening of his trial, Tsukuda admitted to the allegations. The prosecution sought a term of three years and six months. The defense wanted a suspended prison term.
Upon its purchase of the site in 2015, the government planned to construct an educational facility. However, the facility was never built. The land now serves as a parking lot.
Tsukuda was elected mayor of Ito in 2005. He retired in May, 2017. He served as an adviser until March of last year.
Mori and Inaba were also accused in the case. In carrying out the bribery, Inaba served as an intermediary. He received a one-year prison term, suspended for three years. Meanwhile, Mori was handed an 18-month term, also suspended for three years.