The Tokyo District court has sentenced two supporters of House of Representatives member Tsukasa Akimoto accused of violating the Act on Punishment of Organized Crimes (witness bribery).
The case is part of a wider scandal that has seen the pair accused of conspiring with Akimoto, who has also been charged with corruption with regard to an IR, and paying for a witness to perjure themselves in court.
On Tuesday, the court sentenced Akihito Awaji to one year and two months in prison with a suspended sentence of three years and Fumihiko Sato to one year in prison with a suspended sentence of three years. Both had previously worked for Chinese online gaming firm 500.com, which is alleged to have paid Akimoto to help it secure a license to develop one of Japan’s first IRs.
This is the first time that the revised law affecting bribery of witnesses has been applied in a guilty charge since it came into effect in July 2017.
According to the ruling, both defendants Awaji and Sato committed bribery at a hotel in Naha city, telling a witness that he would be provided JP10 million (US$96,400) if he agreed to perjure himself. A second offer of JPY20 million (US$192,800) was made in July.
The prosecution said the mastermind of the scheme was Akimoto but said both defendants had maliciously obstructed justice.