Monday, January 31, 2011

Downfall of a Shadowed-Shogun, Ichiro Ozawa indicted for accounting fraud!

Often compared to the French politician Talleyrand
Ozawa Ichiro today indicted over fund misreporting

In Japan it is a political shock, a major political turmoil! I was told by reliable sources about this sure thing 2011 indictment of Ozawa, it was a while ago, then again a few days ago and it was confirmed to me very recently. This morning, I uploaded on my facebook wall a picture of an evanescent Geisha of Niigata to alarm my friends and colleagues. Then, 2 hours after, NHK announced the indictment of Ozawa. Why a picture of a Niigata Geisha? Because Niigata was the constituency or Tanaka Kakuei, the symbol of the money politics and Ryotei expensive "Japanese restaurants behind the scenes" system.

Today, Japan attempts to secure, at great risks and expenses, a temporary end to the logic of the era of Niigata strong man Kakuei Tanaka who stated that "Democracy-is-about-numbers." It is a dangerous choice for the Kan administration when knowing who the distinguished target's pedigree is.

It might certainly take 2 to 3 years to investigate the case, paralyzing Ozawa's obsession with power and politics, but the shadow shogun might have lost one battle he certainly did not loose the war. Just an interlude.

This latest scandal targets Ozawa's political funds management body called Rikuzankai. "It's alleged to have failed to report in 2004 and 2005, the use of 400 million yen which had been transferred to its account. It had used 340 million yen to buy land in Tokyo." Then to the general surprise, the Tokyo prosecutors dismissed his indictment, but a prosecution review commission of lay juries decided twice that he should be indicted. Here we are now.

DPJ founder and Parliament member, Ozawa Ichiro became at 46 the youngest secretary-general of the LDP, the Liberal Democratic Party. But he also made (and sometimes broke) several prime ministers, Tanaka, Takeshita, Kaifu, Miyazawa -the Americans hated him for this one- and instigated a more assertive Japanese type of politics, more distant from the USA, closer to China, the rising power of North East Asia. A more reformist Japan while handled by tricky and fuzzy decisions murmured behind thick curtains.

Ozawa is the first who weakened the LDP after 38 years of power and opened the road to success for the reformists. It worked clumsily with Morihiro Hosokawa - heir of an Edo era Lord- early 90's, in the first attempt to break the uninterrupted rule of the LDP party and a system. It was called "the 1955 system."

It took then several years for Ozawa to build a legitimate alternative to LDP in dividing the party, and bringing together leftists and rightists, in this estrange maelstrom of politicians reunited into a program surnamed "the DPJ manifesto". Its ideas brought DPJ to power in 2009, Yukio Hatoyama became prime minister. A first.

But similar to all tragedies, including what happened to the French Revolution, Danton and Robespierre ended chopped off, or as in a Freudian explanation where the son kills the father, it is the ex-leftist and current prime minister Kan who struggles with the abusive political godfather Ozawa and kicks him today out of politics for a minor fraud on money politics, a so called "alleged misreporting of political funds."

Not much of a case, lawyers say. A lot of dangers ahead for Mr Kan. The question is will the DPJ take punitive measures against Ozawa, will Ozawa voluntarily leave the party or will he take dozens of politicians with him and possibly formulate a new party and decapitate his doubtful DPJ heirs from the supreme political power?

Nagatacho Hill, where the Diet and the Executive power are located, already knows that Ozawa Ichiro the "kingpin" will escape, get a non-guilty verdict and draw the line of an other political party, founded by him and his appointed skillful and ruthless to be, successor. Ozawa is very rich in political donations

Ozawa, the fan of Samurai drama and Geisha restaurants is a romantic-branded character by western writers - Karel Van Wolferen is preparing a book about Ozawa Ichiro- Ozawa worships the cult of heroes. He admires Okubo Toshimichi and Ito Hirobumi who have built a modern Japan during the Meiji Revolution late 19th Century.

Ozawa Ichiro is a chapter of Japanese contemporary history, maybe the most accurate visionary doted of the strongest will, a child born in Mizusawa, Iwate prefecture, as 3 other famous examples of ambitions and realization, Takano Choei, Saito Makoto and Goto Shimpei, scholars and politicians... But most certainly he identifies with a distant relation Takeda Shingen, the 16th Century Samurai hero of the "Warring States" period. To all Japanese it means Ozawa is prepared and well known for his mastery of the politics and battlefield strategies! More dangerous than ever.

This is where we are now in Tokyo. It will be a never ending fire-cracks, sharp tricks and fights for the months ahead and similar to the Japanese Samurais traditions, a lot of leaders will soon bear cuts on their "careers, plans and bodies."

To be continued.
Reporter's Notes and quotes.
Leaders and Leadership in Japan.

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Downfall of a Shadowed-Shogun, Ichiro Ozawa indicted for accounting fraud! by Asian Gazette Blog of Joel Legendre-Koizumi is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.


  1. Anonymous5:52 PM

    Great story, thank you very much, Joel!

  2. Thank you for the story.
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