Ozawa portrait hung at Diet with other old-timers

by Natsuko Fukue

Staff Writer

A portrait of former Democratic Party of Japan leader Ichiro Ozawa, who is on trial for allegedly breaking the political funds law, was displayed in the Diet on Monday.

According to the Lower House, lawmakers who have been in office for over 25 years are permitted to have their portrait displayed in the Diet.

First elected in 1969, Ozawa has been a lawmaker for 43 years.

The portrait, painted by a graduate of Ozawa Ichiro Seiji Juku, or a private school for politics headed by Ozawa, was given to the DPJ don at an alumni gathering in February, Kyodo News said.

Before April 2002, the government provided up to ¥1 million for the portrait fee, but now lawmakers have to pay it themselves.

The kingpin joined DPJ lawmakers in his faction, the largest in the party, in the morning to see the portrait hung on the wall of a committee room in the Lower House annex. The display was approved by the Lower House Committee on Rules and Administration last month.

Ozawa was awarded as a long-time Diet member in 1994 but did not apply for displaying his portrait at that time.