Japan's former top defence bureaucrat pleaded guilty on Monday to taking bribes for military contracts in a scandal that has embarrassed the government.
Takemasa Moriya, 63, who was nicknamed "the emperor" for his influence within the defence ministry until he retired last year, admitted to bribery charges at the first hearing of his trial.
"I apologise to the public and to officials for being behind such crimes," Moriya said in his opening statement at the Tokyo District Court, as quoted by Jiji Press and Kyodo News.
Moriya has previously admitted that he and his wife accepted fine dining, gifts and golf trips from a military contractor. But Moriya had denied wrongdoing, saying the contractor was a friend.
It was Moriya's first public appearance since the former vice defence minister was released on bail in January. He was arrested on November 28.
According to the criminal complaint, he allegedly took 12.5 million yen (125,000 dollars) in bribes that influenced the awarding of defence contracts, including 3.63 million yen in cash deposited into his wife's and daughter's bank accounts.
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