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P.M. BRIEFING : Japan’s Bribery Scandal Spreads

<i> From Times wire services </i>

One former Japanese vice minister was charged and another arrested today, both for allegedly taking bribes in postwar Japan’s biggest political scandal.

Former Labor Vice Minister Takashi Kato was the first former government official formally charged in the Recruit Co. affair, which has forced three cabinet ministers from office.

Kato and three other people were indicted for bribery today, including Hiromasa Ezoe, former chairman of the Recruit publishing and telecommunications company at the center of the scandal, Kyodo news service said.

Prosecutors today arrested Kunio Takaishi, former vice minister of education, the 13th arrest in the scandal that has led to opposition party calls for Prime Minister Noboru Takeshita’s resignation.

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