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Until 4 September 2000, things were looking good for Jōji Yamamoto. Aged 38, he was a rising star within the Democratic Party of Japan and a member of the House of Representatives. But on that day in September he was arrested on suspicion of fraud. For a number of years Yamamoto had been claiming a government-paid salary for a fictitious secretary. For this act as well as the fraud he committed to cover his tracks Yamamoto was charged, convicted, and sentenced to 18 months in prison.