Bawling Japanese politician sentenced for graft

PHOTO: YouTube screengrab

A Japanese politician who became an internet sensation for crying like a baby when he was accused of misusing public funds was handed a suspended sentence on Wednesday for corruption.

Ryutaro Nonomura sobbed his way through a marathon three-hour press conference in 2014 at which he was confronted by journalists over allegations he claimed thousands of dollars in expenses for fictitious travel.

Footage of the bawling middle-aged provincial assemblyman showed him crying and screaming uncontrollably while banging his fists on a desk as tears streamed down his face.

The much-watched sob show came after a visibly nervous Nonomura asked journalists to "stay cool" when asking questions about the allegations.

His incoherent explanations and complaints about how unfair the world was were punctuated by gasping sobs and the sharp intakes of breath required to power his next outburst.

More irregularities followed in the course of Nonomura being tried at the Kobe District Court, flabbergasting the Japanese public.

He failed to show up at the first court session in November last year, local media reported, and was later forced to appear before judges.

At subsequent sessions, Nonomura, 49, reportedly said he suffered from a memory disorder and could not remember crucial details.

The court on Wednesday handed him a three-year sentence suspended for four years, Jiji Press said, meaning he will remain free as long as he stays out of trouble for four years.

In a blog entry Wednesday, Nonomura apologised to residents of his region while warning journalists not to "disturb" his life "by ambushing and stalking" him after the verdict.

Looped footage of Nonomura crying and screaming has continued to pop up on Japanese television since his outburst, providing rich fodder for social media users and comedians.

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