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HOME  > Past issues  > 2010 June 30 - July 6  > Diet must investigate Ozawa scandal - Akahata editorial
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2010 June 30 - July 6 [POLITICS]

Diet must investigate Ozawa scandal - Akahata editorial

January 18, 2010
In connection with an allegation about the land purchase of Rikuzankai, Democratic Party of Japan Secretary General Ozawa Ichiro’s fund managing organization, his former and present secretaries were arrested. However, without providing any explanation for the allegation, Ozawa declared his intent to wage a “full-scale battle” with prosecutors by claiming that he has “clean hands.” His attitude regarding this issue has come under public criticism.

Ozawa is suspected of not only being involved in false reports on his political funds but also receiving illegal donations from general contractor construction companies. If Ozawa refuses to offer an explanation regarding the allegation, it is essential for the Diet to disclose full information about his involvement in the scandal and to request him to take political and moral responsibility by responding to questions at the ordinary Diet session that began on January 18.

Serious crime betraying voters

It is unprecedented that the prosecutor raided a ruling party’s secretary general’s office with allegations of illegal political funds and arrested his three secretaries, including an incumbent House of Representatives member.

Rikuzankai allegedly made a false report about funds for the land purchase. Rikuzankai stated that it borrowed the money from financial institutions, but, in fact, the money was from Ozawa himself. One of the arrested former secretaries admitted to failing to properly report the land purchase in the fund reports.

In his speech at the DPJ Congress held on January 16, Ozawa repeatedly said that although some errors were found in his fund reports, they were only a matter of form and not substance.

The reason why the Political Funds Control Law requires the submission of fund reports annually is to make the movement of political funds transparent and to put politician’s activities under public surveillance. Submitting a false report is a serious crime. Ozawa is unwilling to respond to public criticism because he intends to evade the false report charges by arguing that it was just due to “procedural errors.”

Ozawa is desperately claiming, “Our funds have nothing to do with illegally obtained money,” but the source of the funds is under suspicion. If he insists that the 400 million yen that was used to buy the land in question was from his personal funds, how did he create such huge assets for immediate disposal? His political funds report states that the controversial land was bought with loans from banks, not with his money. Why did he use such a tricky method in the first place? He leaves many questions unanswered.

There is a separate scandal in which Ozawa’s secretaries were arrested and have been on trial for illegally receiving political donations from Nishimatsu Construction Co. Reportedly, the company had been awarded contracts for public works projects in the Tohoku (Northeast) region, Ozawa’s constituency, in return for donations to the Ozawa office. In fact, a person concerned in another general contractor construction company, Mizutani Construction, testified that he had secretly provided 100 million yen to Ozawa’s office. All these allegations do not seem to be merely procedural errors as Ozawa claims.

DPJ must act to respond to the scandal

How monstrous it is for Ozawa to use the power of the ruling party to defy the prosecutors without making any convincing explanation about his involvement in the scandal! Regarding the scandal involving Nishimatsu money, Ozawa insists that people no longer have doubts about it because he won the public confidence in the August general election. However, what about other scandals that have been brought to light after the election? Is he trying to cover them up with the election result as well?

Ozawa is the secretary general of the main ruling party and also a House of Representatives member. It is the Diet responsibility to unravel all the allegations of illegality that implicate him. He should be summoned to testify in the Diet, and the DPJ should exercise its ability to resolve the scandal by disclosing the findings of its investigation into the Ozawa scandal.
- Akahata, January 18, 2010
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