Saturday, January 16, 2010

Ozawa Ichiro, Japan"shadow shogun" : a stone for your shoe!

Damaged by alleged money politics scandal, Ozawa's expertise in
campaigning for Hatoyama overestimated or is the powerful man
playing new tricks in tune with Japan's Nagatacho bad habits?

"I have no intention of resigning from the post of secretary
general by being put through such things," he told reporters
after attending the party's annual convention held in Tokyo.

Here is a sample of Japanese televisions hunting for Ozawa on
Tokyo DPJ annual convention day.

Ichiro Ozawa, the powerful politician, secretary general of the
ruling Democratic Party of Japan, says he will keep his post
despite the arrests of three aides in connection with a shady
land purchase, while directing his anger at investigative
authorities. Does the Tokyo Prosecutor think so too?

This afternoon, Tokyo town center was the theater of massive
demonstration around Kasumigaseki and Hibiya Park, "haut-lieu" of
the Japanese administration. On the same day, the DPJ held its
national convention. Ozawa, a one-time protege of Kakuei Tanaka,
known for Japan's modern pork-barrel politics and the Lockheed
scandal, was a rising star in the LDP until 1993, when he divided
with dozens of other lawmakers. Using the campaigning skills he
practiced in the LDP, he has since worked to create a viable rival
party to the LDP.

Ozawa, 67-years old, the political kingpin who is believed to
have been the architect behind prime minister Hatoyama and the
party's landslide victory in the House of Representatives
election last August, renewed his determination to lead DPJ to
another victory in the House of Councillors race set to take
place this summer.

"I have no intention of resigning from the post of secretary
general by being put through such things," he told reporters
after attending the party's annual convention held in Tokyo.

He reiterated that no dubious money was involved in the land
purchase in Tokyo's Setagaya Ward as prosecutors suspect and he
added that he has fully explained this to them: "I don't know if
they did it intentionally, but the arrests took place in step
with our party's convention, and I cannot by any means accept
such a way (of investigation)," he said. "If this way is
accepted, it would cast a shadow over the nation's democracy."

No media strategy from the current government

Earlier in the day, Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama told reporters,
"The secretary general has told me that he has no intention of
resigning, so I told him that I trust him and would like him to
continue to stay on." Hatoyama, 62, who also doubles as DPJ
president, held talks with Ozawa at the prime minister's office
Saturday morning. But he also said, "It is extremely regrettable
that the case has caused inconvenience to people," referring to
Friday's arrest of Tomohiro Ishikawa, a DPJ lawmaker in
connection with the land purchase in Tokyo by Ozawa's fund
management body involving an unregistered 400 million yen.
Ishikawa formerly worked as a privately hired secretary for Ozawa
and was in charge of clerical work at the fund management body

At the DPJ's annual convention, Ozawa also indicated that he may
have Acting Secretary General Azuma Koshiishi take over part of
his job on an increasing number of occasions in the months to
come, suggesting that he wants to devote more time to his fight
with the authorities to clear his name. Meanwhile, Hatoyama
reiterated his hopes that Ozawa would prove his innocence and do
his best to perform his duty as secretary general, while urging
the party members to help run the government for the next four
years on a united front. The premier also said the party will
seek to secure a majority in the upcoming election.

In addition to Ishikawa, Mitsutomo Ikeda, who also worked for
Ozawa as a privately hired secretary, and Takanori Okubo, an
incumbent state- funded secretary of Ozawa, were arrested in
connection with the case over two days from Friday night. The
arrests of Ozawa's three close aides are expected to deliver a
heavy blow to the government of Hatoyama, who has been under fire
over a funding scandal of his own. The opposition camp is set to
step up its attack against both Hatoyama and Ozawa in an ordinary
Diet session slated to convene Monday. At the convention,
Hatoyama also offered a renewed apology to the public over his
own funding scandal.

Ozawa, a man of too much influence on Hatoyama?

Ozawa's presence has hurt Hatoyama's image, with public support
for the leader now about 50 percent, down from initial highs
above 70 percent due to a perceived lack of leadership. While
some analysts say speculation about Ozawa's influence over policy
is exaggerated, Japanese media have been rife with reports that
Hatoyama has been catering to Ozawa's demands on matters from
personnel to the budget for the next fiscal year.

Ozawa and his image as a back-room wheeler dealer could also hurt
the Democrats' popularity with voters who have pinned hopes on
the party to make policy formation more efficient and
transparent. Ozawa's clout has raised concern about a rival
power centre to the cabinet, that would undermine a Democratic
pledge to centralize decisions in the cabinet. Media have
portrayed Ozawa as the man behind the throne, with TV programs
repeatedly showing lobby groups ranging from labour unions to
nutritionists heading into Ozawa's office for meetings.

Japan US relation damaged by Ozawa and Hatoyama

The review of Japan USA Alliance, the difficulties in adopting
the plan elaborated about the relocation of the Futenma base,
added chili on the top of a not very attractive position of the
two countries while China uses a higher hand to assert her
influence in Asia.

Still Mr Ozawa might have provoked Washington and Beijing with
full knowledge and tension strategy. A strategy that the shadow
shogun now has to defuse if he wants to save his political scalp
and the ruling party.

Memory please

Looking back at Mr Ozawa's spicy statements, Japan getting the

April 6 2002, the then leader of Japan's opposition Liberal
Party, Ichiro Ozawa, said it would be a simple matter for Japan
to produce nuclear weapons and surpass the military might of
China if its neighbor got "too inflated." Inviting a sharp
response from Beijing, which is sensitive to any signs of
militarism in Japan, Ozawa told a seminar in the southern city of
Fukuoka that "China is applying itself to expansion of military
power." Ozawa's latest comments came while Japanese Prime
Minister Junichiro Koizumi visited China and when Li Peng,
chairman of China's parliament, was in Japan on a week-long

Japan has the technology and the plutonium to make thousands of
nuclear weapons, one of the country's most influential
politicians declared this weekend in comments that are likely to
stir up the ire of both China and survivors of the wartime atomic

Ichiro Ozawa, the leader of the opposition Liberal party, made
the comments against a backdrop of increasing Japanese concern
about the economic and military rise of its Asian neighbor.
"China is applying itself to expand its military power in the
hope of becoming a superpower," he said. "If China gets too
inflated, the Japanese people will get hysterical."

April 7th 2002 Ozawa said at a press conference in Naha,
Okinawa's prefectural capital, ''I told a deputy chief of staff
of China's People's Liberation Army that Japan could become a
nuclear power with its technology and economic might but that it
would be tragic if such a thing occurs and we must not let it
happen.'' He said the Chinese military officer told him China's
nuclear armament and buildup of military forces is for
self-defense. ''That's why I told him that such a view could
apply to any nation including Japan and prompt some Japanese to
insist on a further buildup for self-defense and nuclear
armament,'' he said. ''You may well be surprised, but I'm
against nuclear armament. There's nothing beneficial to Japan
politically,'' Ozawa told reporters.

April 9th 2002 The Washington-based Nuclear Control Institute
(NCI) said Ozawa's statement that Japan could easily produce
nuclear warheads using plutonium recovered from spent fuel from
its commercial nuclear power reactors is technically accurate.

"Ozawa's nuclear threat would be an extraordinary dangerous
policy for Japan, abandoning Japanese rejection of nuclear
weapons under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, and it could
destabilize all of Northeast Asia," Edwin Lyman, an NCI
scientific director who is soon to be its president, said in a

"A Japanese nuclear bomb is no longer unthinkable, Ozawa isn't a
flame-thrower by nature. He's a pretty serious thinker about the
future of Japan, the Washington-based Nuclear Control Institute
wrote. "His 1994 political manifesto, Blueprint For A New Japan,
called for a more proactive foreign policy that would enable
Japan to break out of its post-war passivity. This was bold
stuff at the time. Even the CIA thought it worthy of translation
before the English version was published. And foreign-policy
bigwigs such as former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger sang
its praises."

"The Japanese Establishment has always been loath to openly
question its post-war pacifism, enshrined in the country's
war-renouncing constitution... Japanese leaders and the public
at large are increasingly cognizant that they live in a far more
dangerous world than that of the last decade. China is an
ascendant power in the region, and its motives on the military
front aren't entirely clear... Already, Japan has a formidable
navy and a defense budget of about $37 billion. It's investing
in spy satellites and has the kind of high-tech finesse to
jointly research missile-defense systems with the U.S. It surely
has the capability of defending itself fully, should it chose to
follow that route..."

"...If Japan beefs up its security, it would probably become much
harder for Tokyo to justify having 45,000-odd American troops
based on Japanese soil. The hassles of hosting such a contingent
of soldiers and equipment make the U.S. presence highly
unpopular with the Japanese public, especially after a string of
criminal allegations against U.S. soldiers involving local
civilians. A stronger Japan would also likely oblige the
Pentagon to find other bases, perhaps fall back to Guam, for its
forward deployment in Asia. Will the day come when Japan decides
to join the nuclear club? That would be a historic step for a
nation that suffered two nuclear attacks from the U.S. during
World War II."

Yesterday China, today the USA...

Playing with symbols and people confidence might get Ozawa the
kingpin to do a symbolic "Seppuku" (stomach cutting in ritual
suicide of the Samurais) if things get even sourer, and it
could...Ozawa, a man with constant policy, it does not make the
LDP and the rightist happy. Japan in spite of the economic
miracle we see in Asia after the Great Recession of 2009 still
lives in an increasingly dangerous neighborhood, and confronting
that reality is far healthier than ignoring it. A reality that
has a political price and everyone opposing the Shadow shogun is
ready to make him pay the price and... no debt allowed!

Sources (agencies, ann tv, blogs, reporter notes)

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