Lawyers serving as the prosecution in the case against political heavyweight Ichiro Ozawa for his involvement in falsifying political fund reports asked for a three-year prison sentence on the grounds Ozawa belittled the law and showed no contrition.
The prosecution laid out its case for convicting Ozawa at the March 9 session held at Tokyo District Court.
Under the law, the maximum penalty possible for the crime Ozawa has been indicted on is a five-year prison sentence or a fine of 1 million yen ($12,300).
Ozawa, former president of the Democratic Party of Japan, is before the court because a prosecution inquest panel made up of citizens found that he should be indicted. However, defense lawyers have argued that the case should be thrown out because the panel decision was invalidated by the submission of a report made by a prosecutor, which included fake testimony from one of Ozawa's former aides, Tomohiro Ishikawa.
The Tokyo District Court threw out the testimony compiled by Masahiro Tashiro, who was part of the investigation team, after his questioning of Ishikawa because Tashiro included comments that Ishikawa never made.
However, the prosecution argued, "Citizens may be mistaken in their appraisal of evidence because they are not experts in investigations or court cases. However, the prosecution inquest panel decision should not be invalidated if the reason was that the appraisal was wrong."
The prosecution argued that the false entries in the political fund report for Rikuzankai, Ozawa's political fund management organization, were made based on instructions and with the approval of Ozawa.
Defense lawyers are scheduled to make their final arguments in the next court session set for March 19. Ozawa will also give final testimony.
The court verdict is expected sometime around April 26.
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