General Secretary Nobuteru Ishihara of the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) announced his party’s willingness to support the current administration’s bill for the consumption tax increase last Saturday. There is a condition for his party’s support of the bill: to cut all ties with former DPJ leader Ichiro Ozawa and his gang.
While the DPJ has not yet responded to Mr. Ishihara’s invitation, he is not the only one who seeks to oust the political influence of Mr. Ozawa. Ever since his former Liberal Party (LP) joined the DPJ to create a feasible alternative to the LDP in 2003, even some his own party members openly criticized Mr. Ozawa’s approach to politics. Japanese mainstream media have also shown their disapproval by continually smearing his image.
Part of this general antipathy toward Mr. Ozawa comes from his determination to challenge the Japanese political establishment. Like his former boss Kakuei Tanaka, he wants to realize true democracy where the people of Japan get to decide the direction of the country, not the bureaucratic elites.
Just as Mr. Ozawa’s grand political plan began to roll in 2009, his chief secretary was indicted with taking bribe in March. He then stepped down as the leader of the party in May. As many know, the party won the historic victory in August and became the sole majority party in the House of Representative. While he supported Prime Minister Hatoyama as the party’s General Secretary, but their leadership ended prematurely in June 2010.
Mr. Ozawa was eventually indicted in January 2011, and because of this, his party membership was suspended. Dutch journalist Karen van Wolferen among others commented that Mr. Ozawa’s indictment and trial are clearly politically motivated.
The decision will be made on April 26, 2012. If Mr. Ozawa is found guilty, perhaps some of his enemy might begin to like him. But if he is found innocent as many law-professors and journalists say he should, Mr. Ozawa will continue to be hated. Of course, he wouldn’t mind that, would he?
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