Japan's ruling DPJ moves to suspend Ozawa's membership (2)

21:42, February 14, 2011      

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Ozawa himself has consistently denied any wrongdoing as he faces charges of violating the Political Funds Control Law for the alleged false reporting by his political funds management body, called Rikuzankai, in 2004 and 2005, of around 4.13 million U.S. dollars it spent to purchase land in Tokyo and failure to book 4. 86 million U.S. dollars it received in loans from Ozawa.

Ozawa has vowed to stay on as a member of the DPJ, despite Prime Minister Naoto Kan personally asking him to step-down voluntarily last Thursday.

Three former secretaries of Ozawa have been indicted in connection with the scandal and Ozawa himself has been questioned four times by The Tokyo District Public Prosecutors Office on a voluntary basis, but not indicted due to lack of evidence.

The 68-year old Ozawa has refused to submit to any more voluntary questioning, according to his defense counsel who maintained he is not obliged to do so.

The case concerning Ozawa has already caused public support for Prime Minister Naoto Kan and his Cabinet to fall and has created an ever-widening rift within the ruling DPJ of which Ozawa holds sway over a sizable number of junior Lower House lawmakers, who may side with Ozawa should he be forced to leave the DPJ.

The scandal has provided opposition parties with significant ammunition to use against the ruling party and the DPJ is anxious to put Ozawa's discreditable behavior behind them as they try to curry favor from the opposition bloc to pass the fiscal 2011 budget.

The date for Ozawa's trial has yet to be set.

Source: Xinhua
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