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Japan’s former justice minister Kawai accepts jail term for vote buying

"The responsibility is solely on me, and I am ready to accept it all. I ask for leniency on the people who have accepted cash," Kawai said in a statement released through his lawyer, as quoted by Japanese news agency Kyodo.

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Tokyo: Former Japanese Justice Minister Katsuyuki Kawai on Thursday withdrew his appeal of a three-year prison term for buying votes to secure his wife’s seat in the upper house.

“The responsibility is solely on me, and I am ready to accept it all. I ask for leniency on the people who have accepted cash,” Kawai said in a statement released through his lawyer, as quoted by Japanese news agency Kyodo.

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Kawai was justice minister in ex-Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s government and became the first ex-minister in over a decade to have accepted a prison sentence.

The court also ruled to confiscate 1.3 million yen ($11,400) from Kawai after finding that he had paid 28.7 million yen ($250,000) to 100 legislators to buy votes in Hiroshima Prefecture, the constituency of his wife, Anri Kawai.

In January, Anri Kawai got a 16-month suspended prison term for bribing legislators. The ruling was finalized in February.

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