SHENZHEN, China--A 76-year-old former city assembly member from Inazawa, Aichi Prefecture, will finally hear the verdict of his drug-smuggling trial that concluded more than five years ago.

Takuma Sakuragi was arrested on suspicion of attempting to smuggle more than 3 kilograms of stimulants into Japan from China. He denied the allegation.

Sakuragi’s lawyers said on Nov. 2 that the equivalent of a district court in Guangzhou, Guangdong province, would hold a session on Nov. 8 and read the verdict in Sakuragi’s case.

In August 2014, prosecutors concluded their arguments by asking that Sakuragi be given either a prison term of at least 15 years, a life sentence or even the death sentence.

However, the court has delayed the reading of the verdict on about 20 occasions. One reason given by the court is that the mastermind behind the suspected drug-smuggling ring, a man believed to be from Africa, has not yet been apprehended.

In China, drug-related crimes are severely punished. The death penalty can be imposed against anyone caught possessing more than 50 grams of stimulants with the intent to smuggle.

But under Chinese criminal law, the death penalty is, in principle, not applied to defendants who are at least 75 years old. Lawyers said Sakuragi would not likely face capital punishment.