Aide denies Ozawa saw fund reports

by Setsuko Kamiya

Staff Writer

A former aide to Democratic Party of Japan kingpin Ichiro Ozawa testified Tuesday that he never consulted with his former boss about making alleged false entries in the financial statements for Ozawa’s political fund management body, Rikuzankai, in 2004 and 2005.

During the fourth session of Ozawa’s trial at the Tokyo District Court, Lower House lawmaker Tomohiro Ishikawa testified that Ozawa never asked to see the political funding reports that Ishikawa made in 2004 and 2005, and denied interrogation records where Ishikawa said he reported to his former boss and got his consent about the entries.

Ozawa is on trial for allegedly conspiring with his former secretaries about making false financial statements for 2004, 2005 and 2007. Ishikawa’s interrogation records are considered important evidence for the prosecution as they have nothing else to prove Ozawa’s involvement.

The court-appointed lawyers serving as prosecutors questioned Ishikawa about the interrogation records made by professional prosecutors and tried to establish that they accurately reflected Ishikawa’s words.

They tried to show that Ishikawa never acquiesced to prosecutors on some of the other points in the questioning and was given the opportunity to revise the records before he signed them.

But Ishikawa testified that he had no choice but to admit the part that said he had consulted with his boss about leaving out the ¥350 million that was used to purchase property in Setagaya Ward, Tokyo, in 2004 from the statement for that year, and entering it in Rikuzankai’s 2005 political funding report instead.

“At the time (when I was interrogated last year), prosecutors were starting to question my supporters and secretary because of me, and I felt that I had to make some kind of compromise before things got worse,” Ishikawa said. “It was my weakness that I gave in (to prosecutors).”

Ishikawa was convicted in late September in another trial for violation of the Political Funds Control Law but has filed an appeal. Tuesday marked the second and last day he took the witness stand in Ozawa’s trial.