Prominent politician sues accuser after release from prison


Muneo Suzuki

TOKYO (majirox news) — Former House of Representatives member Muneo Suzuki filed a 33 million yen ($415,000) claim against his accuser only six days after being released on parole, vowing to clear his name and prove his innocence.

“I only want the truth to come out,” he said.

He accused the former director of Hokkaido Regional Development, who was unidentified, for libel and purgery. Suzuki says the man’s testimony, in which he accused Suzuki of accepting bribes, sent him to prison.

The 63 year old, a native of Hokkaido, was sentenced to two years in prison and given an 11 million yen ($137,000) fine. At the time, he headed the New Party Daichi, a small political party.

However, a corrections committee under the Justice Ministry decided to parole Suzuki after spending a year in prison at Tochigi prefecture because of his remorse and other factors.

Suzuki was found guilty of taking bribes from two Hokkaido construction firms, including Hokkaido Regional Development, in exchange for favors. The bribes totaled 11 million yen. He was also found guilty of other offenses, such as lying under oath to the Lower House Budget Committee about declaring political donations.

While serving his sentence in Tochigi prefecture, he underwent surgery for esophagus cancer.

After his release from prison, he told reporters, “As of 8 o’clock this morning, I breathed the air of freedom for the first time in a year.”

He added that his year of imprisonment was a time for “self-improvement.”

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