Incumbent member of Japan’s House of Representatives, Tsukasa Akimoto, has been sentenced to four years in prison and fined JPY 7.58 million (US$69,000) for bribery and violation of the Act on Punishment of Organized Crimes.
The sentence comes after Akimoto was found to have accepted bribes from Chinese online gaming firm 500.com in 2017 and 2018 when it was looking to bid for an integrated resort license in Japan. The now 49-year-old was deputy minister of the cabinet office responsible for IR at the time.
Further, in June and July 2020 when he was on bail, Akimoto facilitated bribe offers to two former consultants of 500.com in exchange for false testimony. Both later admitted to bribery and were subsequently found guilty.
Former policy secretary Akihiro Toyoshima (42), who had been accused of conspiracy with Akimoto, was also sentenced to two years in prison with a four-year suspended sentence.
The sentencing judge on Tuesday described Akimoto’s actions as an “unprecedented obstruction of justice.”
Despite sentencing, Akimoto’s was granted bail of JPY 100 million (US$907,000) and has pledged to run in the next Lower House election.