Ozawa aides’ convictions upheld

Staff Report

The Tokyo High Court upheld the convictions Wednesday of the three former aides to Ichiro Ozawa who falsified the power broker’s political funds reports.

Lower House lawmaker Tomohiro Ishikawa, Takanori Okubo and Mitsutomo Ikeda all have denied intentionally falsifying financial reports for the former Democratic Party of Japan president’s political funds management body Rikuzankai in 2004, 2005 and 2007. They were convicted by the Tokyo District Court in September 2011.

Ishikawa immediately appealed his case to the Supreme Court later Wednesday.

The lower court sentenced Ishikawa to two years in prison, suspended for three years, Okubo to three years, suspended for five years, and Ikeda to one year, suspended for three years.

The district court ruled that the three former secretaries failed to report ¥400 million in income and about ¥352 million in expenses related to a land purchase in Tokyo’s Setagaya Ward in 2004. The initial ruling also recognized that Ishikawa and Okubo received a total of ¥100 million in slush funds from general contractor Mizutani Construction Co. related to a dam construction project in Iwate Prefecture, Ozawa’s constituency, and hiding that fact was one of the motives for violating the Political Funds Control Law.