Lawyers prosecuting Ichiro Ozawa on Friday demanded he be jailed for three years in a political funding scandal trial he has denounced as a plot to sideline him.
Prosecutors said jail time was the only appropriate sentence for Ozawa, the head of the largest faction in the ruling Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) and often seen as the power behind the premiership.
Ozawa is accused of conspiring with former aides to not report 400 million yen of his own money that he lent to a political funding body in 2004 to facilitate a land deal.
Ozawa's aides have said the mistake was purely technical and their boss had not been aware of it.
But in their closing arguments, prosecutors Friday told a Tokyo court it was "unthinkable" that Ozawa was not in the loop.
Defense lawyers for the 69-year-old politician, who has pleaded not guilty, are due to deliver their closing arguments on March 19.
A court decision on Ozawa, who helped the DPJ to power with an electoral landslide in 2009, is expected around April 26.
Ozawa told the court last October the prosecution was "an abuse of state power."
"I can only speculate that the purpose was to terminate me politically and socially," he said.© AFP