Ozawa slams Noda on tax hike, mum on ruling

Kyodo

Ruling Democratic Party of Japan powerbroker Ichiro Ozawa criticized Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda’s plan to double the sales tax at a meeting Saturday in Moka, Tochigi Prefecture, as he publicly spoke for the first time since his acquittal Thursday in a political funds case before the Tokyo District Court.

Ozawa did not touch on the court’s ruling, which found him not guilty of conspiring to falsify financial reports. The general lawyers who served as prosecutors against him have yet to decide whether to appeal.

“Our Cabinet has forgotten the basic standpoint of the change of government. Public disappointment and criticism are directed at it all the more because expectations had been high,” said the DPJ’s former leader, who was the main strategist behind the party’s ascent to power in 2009.

As for the trial, Ozawa is likely to hold a press conference after a decision on whether to appeal to a higher court is made by the deadline of May 10.

“The DPJ can do anything if it has the will to do so because it is in power. The leader should make appropriate decisions and if everyone works together, we can win the support of the public again,” he said.

He also said it is not known when the Lower House will be dissolved for a general election as it depends on developments in the political arena.

On Friday, the Tokyo District court found Ozawa not guilty and said it did not have enough evidence to prove he was conspiring with his secretaries.