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Wednesday, Oct. 15, 2008

Moriya asks for leniency over bribes


Staff writer

Former Vice Defense Minister Takemasa Moriya, on trial for bribery and perjury charges, made a final plea Tuesday for a suspended sentence and offered another apology for his deeds.

News photo
Takemasa Moriya

"I apologize from my heart for betraying the public by my thoughtless actions," Moriya, 64, said during the closing session of his trial at the Tokyo District Court. "I am very sorry for causing so much trouble to Self-Defense Forces members across the country who are working very hard to protect the lives of the Japanese people, and to all those who have been supporting the defense of this country."

Prosecutors last month demanded a 3 1/2-year prison term for Moriya. The court will hand down its sentence Nov. 5.

In their closing statement, Moriya's lawyers sought a suspended sentence by rattling off a list of extenuating circumstances they said the court should take into consideration.

Although he took bribes, for example, he didn't give favors to defense procurement firms by compromising national interests or contradicting his duties as a vice defense minister, they said.

They also stated that Moriya was dedicated to his job and made many contributions to the SDF, such as clarifying its role in disaster relief and clearing the way for participation in international peacekeeping operations.

They also said he cooperated with prosecutors on solving the case and returned his retirement allowance, even though he still has housing loans to pay.

They sought sympathy, mentioning how he had already been sanctioned with extensive media coverage, anonymous calls and threats. His wife, who was arrested as an accomplice but has since been released, is suffering from depression and seeking medical support, they said.

Moriya is accused of taking about ¥12.5 million in kickbacks from Tokyo-based defense equipment trader Yamada Corp. and Nihon Mirise Corp. and rewarding them with special favors in engine procurement contracts for the Air Self-Defense Force's next-generation CX aircraft.

He is also charged with giving false testimony to the Diet last October and November about numerous golf outings and cash gifts he received from the firms.



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