Japanese House of Representatives member Tsukasa Akimoto was released from jail on Wednesday night after posting bail following his arrest on accusations he accepted bribes from Chinese online gaming firm 500.com.
The Tokyo District Court set Akimoto’s bail at JPY 30 million (US$273,000) on Monday, and while the amount had already been paid in full, the prosecution filed a quasi-appeal in objection to the bail, which was denied.
Since he was first arrested on 25 December, Akimoto has been charged with three separate counts of bribery, having allegedly accepted a total of around JPY 7.6 million (US$69,000).
According to his attorney, Akimoto maintains his innocence on all counts and plans to continue to serve in his position in the House, despite no longer having the support of the Liberal Democratic Party
The Tokyo District Public Prosecutors Office strongly objected to the bail, claiming risk of destruction of evidence, but the court is thought to have made the judgment that he was a low flight risk, and that there was also a low risk of destruction of evidence.
However, it is extremely rare for a defendant in similar circumstances to be let out on bail directly after indictment, and there has already been criticism against the court’s decision in light of former Nissan chairman Carlos Ghosn having fled to Lebanon in violation of his bail last December.