Nihon Seito Osyoku Jiken (Corruption Scandal of Dai-Nippon Sugar Co., Ltd.) (日本製糖汚職事件)

Nihon Seito Oshoku Jiken refers to a bribery scandal in the Meiji Period in which the board members of Nihon Seito in Taiwan conspired to bribe members of the House of Representatives with the aim of extending an effective period of a law. It is also called as the "Nitto Jiken" (Nitto Case).

Background of the Incident

After the Japanese-Sino war, Japan positioned sugar and camphor production as one of the key industries in Taiwan for the Japanese government to rule Taiwan, and protected the industry by enacting "Yunyu Genryo Satou ModoshiZei" (duty-free imported sugar) in 1902. While the proposed measure of a revised law aiming at further extending this law for five years up to 1911 was introduced and passed in both Houses, the board members of Nihon Seito, such as Kazuhiro AKIYAMA and Otosuke ISOMURA, conspired to bribe 20 influential members of the House of Representatives to enact the legislation in order to protect their own company's interests.

Disclosure of the Scandal

However, an internal conflict rose among bribers, and Kazuhiro AKIYAMA visited a prosecutor at the government quarters on April 11, 1908 to confess the fact that Nihon Seito made an illicit fund by a bookkeeping maneuver to bribe the members of the House of Representatives and hid the sources of the fund, a result of which the scandal was brought to light.

Trial and Judgment

As a result of questioning the members of the House of Representatives while the police investigating the bribery suspects, the number of members of the House of Representatives who received a bribe was found to increase to 20 members, belonging to the Seiyu Party, Shinpo To (Progrssive Party) (Japan), and a political party called "Daido Kurabu". On July 3, two months after Akiyama's confession, a decision was handed down to the defendants at the Second Criminal Affairs Department of the Tokyo District Court, and the defendants were sentenced to 3 to 10 months in prison and were additionally fined.

On the other hand, the board members of Nihon Seito, the bribery suspects, were charged with violating laws for crimes of corruption, counterfeiting of documents, and consumption of a trust fund (Fourth Criminal Affairs Department of the Tokyo District Court was in charge for this), and Isomura was sentenced to a minimum term of 4 years in prison, and Akiyama was sentenced to a minimum term of 3 years and 6 months in prison on December 6, 1909. The other board members were sentenced to no more than a minimum term of 2 years and 6 months in prison with suspended execution of the sentence. However, both Isomura and Akiyama appealed the first trial, but both the Tokyo and the Sendai High Courts dismissed the appeals on March 29, 1912, thereby fixing the final conclusive judgment.