Ozawa rejects pressure to face Diet ethics panel

Kyodo News

Democratic Party of Japan Secretary General Ichiro Ozawa on Sunday rebuffed pressure from senior members of the DPJ-led ruling coalition to face a Diet ethics panel over the scandal embroiling his political fundraising body.

“There is nothing that surpasses the investigation of prosecutors who have legal power,” Ozawa said in Fukuoka Prefecture. “As a result (of their investigations), it became clear that there was no wrong done, so the people would clearly understand this.”

The Tokyo District Public Prosecutor’s Office failed to indict Ozawa due to lack of evidence but succeeded in indicting two of his former secretaries and a current aide for allegedly falsifying political funds reports in connection with a shady land deal in Tokyo involving his fund management body.

The DPJ’s coalition partners urged Ozawa to attend.

In an NHK program earlier Sunday, Tomoko Abe, policy chief of the Social Democratic Party, said, “I expect (Ozawa) to attend the political ethics hearing committee of the House of Representatives to explain” about the scandal.

Mikio Shimoji, policy chief of Kokumin Shinto (People’s New Party), agreed.

“Many people still think that Mr. Ozawa has to give an adequate account, not just speaking up at news conferences,” Shimoji said on the same program.

Asked whether Ozawa should go before the panel, Banri Kaieda of the DPJ would only say “it is up to him.”