Japan councillor’s drug trial in China ends

Japan councillor’s drug trial in China ends
Takuma Sakuragi, a councillor in the central Japanese city of Inazawa, was arrested with more than three kilograms of "white crystals" later tested to contain methamphetamine at Guangzhou airport last October.

BEIJING - The Chinese trial of a Japanese city politician for drug trafficking has ended with prosecutors asking for a sentence ranging from 15 years to death, reports said.

Takuma Sakuragi, a councillor in the central Japanese city of Inazawa, was arrested with more than three kilograms of "white crystals" later tested to contain methamphetamine, in a suitcase at Guangzhou airport last October, previous Chinese media reports said.

He was handed a suitcase by two African associates in Guangzhou, in southern China, and was asked to give it to the wife of one of them in Tokyo, according to the reports.

The trio's three-day trial at the Guangzhou Intermediate People's Court ended Thursday night, the Beijing Times said Friday, adding the verdict will be announced "at an appropriate time".

Prosecutors called for the court to consider sentences of death, life imprisonment or 15 years jail for the 70-year-old if he is convicted, Japan's Kyodo news agency said.

The case comes after China put to death another Japanese man for drugs offence last month, according to Tokyo's diplomats and media reports.

Four Japanese were executed in China in 2010 for carrying illegal drugs.

That was Beijing's first use of the death penalty against Japanese nationals since the two countries normalised ties in 1972.

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