Ex-Bureaucrat Gets Prison Term over Japan COVID-19 Aid Fraud


Tokyo, Dec. 21 (Jiji Press)--Tokyo District Court sentenced a former Japanese industry ministry bureaucrat to two years and six months in prison on Tuesday over COVID-19 relief aid money fraud.

The prison sentence was given to 29-year-old Makoto Sakurai, who played the leading role in cheating the government out of some 15.5 million yen in benefits, including rent subsidies offered to sole proprietors and small businesses hit hard by the novel coronavirus pandemic.

Yutaro Arai, 28, another former industry ministry bureaucrat, was sentenced to two years in prison, suspended for four years, for his involvement in the fraud.

Public prosecutors had demanded a prison sentence of four years and six months for Sakurai and three years for Arai.

In the ruling, Judge Ryuta Asaka said the accused "betrayed the trust of Japanese people by repeating fraud despite their status as bureaucrats."

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press