Influence-peddling politician Suzuki given 2 year prison term

The Tokyo District Court on November 5 handed down a sentence of two years in prison and a fine of 11 million yen to former Liberal Democratic Party House of Representatives member Suzuki Muneo on four charges including bribery. The other charges included violation of the Political Funds Control Law and of the Diet Testimony Law.

The court denounced Suzuki for taking bribes for directly and indirectly using his political influence over public work projects as the head of the Hokkaido Development Agency.

The chief judge also blamed Suzuki for his lack of remorse in trying to justify himself to the point of falsifying his testimony in the Diet.

Suzuki on the same day appealed to a higher court.

Japanese Communist Party Secretariat Head Ichida Tadayoshi on the same day commented on the judgment.

Ichida stated that at issue is the structure of collusion between political, bureaucratic, and business circles over biddings for public works projects, under which the politician, at the request from particular bidders, uses his influence to make the bidding successful and accepts enormous sums of money in return. Thus administrative procedures are extremely distorted, Ichida said.

Ichida added that even after Suzuki was charged, the government and the Liberal Democratic Party failed to make reforms, and instead maintained its plutocratic and corrupt structure. He said that the recent numerous scandals over money in politics, including the one over donations from the political wing of the Japan Dental Association, show that no change has been made.

Analyzing that the collusive structure stems from the fact that business corporations and other organizations are allowed to donate money to political parties to influence politics, Ichida stated that the JCP demands that at the least bidders for public work orders be immediately barred from making political donations.

Ichida also said that the JCP calls for political parties to begin seriously discussing a general ban on political donations tby business corporations and other organizations. (end)

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