Ozawa signals plan to run for DPJ presidency

JIJI

Despite his suspension from the party, former Democratic Party of Japan chief Ichiro Ozawa has signaled that he plans to run in the party’s next presidential election.

In an online broadcast Wednesday, Ozawa said he is ready for “whatever role” he is destined to play. Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda’s term of office as DPJ chief is set to expire in September.

Because Ozawa’s party membership was suspended after his indictment in January 2011 over his alleged role in the falsification of political fund reports submitted by his fund management body Rikuzankai, he is barred from running in a DPJ leadership election.

But DPJ Secretary General Azuma Koshiishi recently suggested the party may lift the suspension if Ozawa is found not guilty in a ruling to be handed down by the Tokyo District Court on April 26.

Ozawa criticized last week’s agreement by Noda and three Cabinet ministers to push the reactivation of reactors 3 and 4 at Kansai Electric Power Co.’s Oi nuclear plant in Fukui Prefecture.

The decision was made without completely explaining it to the local residents or the rest of Japan, Ozawa said.

He also rapped the Noda government’s plan to double the consumption tax.