Kingpin’s political future up to him, Okada repeats

Kyodo News

The Democratic Party of Japan ignored media pressure Monday to leap into action in response to the long-expected indictment of former leader Ichiro Ozawa, who will now go to trial over his long drawn-out political funds scandal.

“It’s extremely regrettable, and we take it seriously given that Mr. Ozawa is a lawmaker belonging to our party and once headed the DPJ,” DPJ Secretary General Katsuya Okada said at a news conference after Ozawa was indicted earlier in the day over accounting irregularities involving his political funds body.

“Mr. Ozawa must first make his own decision (on his political future), and it is on that premise that we in the party will hold discussions,” the DPJ’s patient No. 2 man said.

At DPJ headquarters, Okada said it is important to hold “careful, thorough discussions” because the matter concerns the indictment of a lawmaker. But he refrained from taking an official position on punishing Ozawa, for example, by expelling him.