Japanese PM continues to support Ozawa as Secretary-General despite funds scandal reinvestigation

12:45, April 28, 2010      

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Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama inferred Wednesday that he continues to support Secretary-General Ichiro Ozawa.

Hatoyama said so even though an inquest panel decided Tuesday he merits indictment over his funds management body Rikuzankai's alleged false reporting of political funds and despite calls from the main opposition party and the public for Ozawa to step down.

Regarding a decision made on Tuesday by a citizens' panel saying that Ozawa merits indictment over his fund management body' s alleged false funds reports, Hatoyama defended his No. 2.

"I want Secretary-General Ozawa to go on working hard," Hatoyama told reporters in the morning.

However the Japanese premier declined to comment further on the case, saying, "It would give the prosecution room for prejudgment if I spoke on the case from the position of government."

On Tuesday, the Tokyo No. 5 committee for the Inquest of Prosecution, comprised of 11 citizens selected by lottery, decided Ozawa merits indictment over his political funds management body Rikuzankai's alleged false reporting of political funds from 2004 to 2007.

The decision was made in closed-door deliberations following a complaint filed by a citizens group against the prosecutors' previous decision not to indict Ozawa.

In light of the panel decision, the Tokyo District Public Prosecutors Office will reinvestigate the case.

Prosecutors decided not to charge Ozawa over the alleged false reporting of his political funds at a hearing on Feb. 4 after questioning him twice in January, because there was not enough evidence to convict him at trial as a conspirator.

Source: Xinhua


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