Ozawa, wife worth ¥2 billion

Kyodo News

Democratic Party of Japan Secretary General Ichiro Ozawa and his wife had assets with an estimated market value of at least ¥1.974 billion as of late August, according to a Kyodo News tally based on filings by Ozawa as required by law and officially registered data on his wife’s assets.

Ozawa has been under fire for the alleged misreporting of funds by his political money management body and a lack of adequate explanations about his record-keeping.

Prosecutors have charged three current and former Ozawa aides, including a DPJ lawmaker, in connection with the scandal, although they have not charged Ozawa due to lack of evidence linking him to the misreporting.

One of the indicted aides reportedly made a statement to prosecutors to the effect that false entries were made for the fund management body’s filings to hide the fact that Ozawa has substantial money assets.

The total value of the couple’s assets was arrived at by adding up land, real estate and financial assets reported by Ozawa to the Lower House and assets held by his wife based on officially registered data seen by Kyodo News, and then converting the total amount into market prices.

This is the first time that a glimpse has been taken into the couple’s asset portfolio.

Ozawa’s wife is a member of the founding family of mid-ranking contractor Fukuda Corp., which is listed on the Tokyo Stock Exchange. She is a major stockholder, with 1.36 million shares in the company.

Ozawa is among the 480 members of the Lower House. They are required by law to report their assets at the beginning of their term to the speaker of the chamber within 100 days.

Their filings are available for viewing starting Monday. The last Lower House election was in August.

A tally based on the filings indicate the current Lower House members held on average of ¥31.54 million, down more than ¥18 million from the average held by lawmakers in the last disclosure in February 2006.

The sharp drop apparently resulted because some senior lawmakers were defeated or retired in the last election, while many relatively younger people were elected.

Among the 480 lawmakers, Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama, the DPJ president, reported the highest amount, at ¥1.637 billion, down by ¥19.11 million from the previous disclosure.

He maintained the position of richest lawmaker for the third time in a row.

Hatoyama’s younger brother, Kunio, from the Liberal Democratic Party, was second with ¥816.17 million.

Ozawa was 11th on the list with assets of ¥193.04 million.

Of the Lower House members, 25 held assets of more than ¥100 million, down from 46 among those elected in the previous election.

First-term Lawmakers averaged ¥12.53 million in assets, sharply lower than the average of ¥28.70 million held by rookie members in the previous election.

LDP lawmakers held an average of ¥50.18 million in assets, compared with ¥26.95 million among those from the ruling DPJ.

Assets that lawmakers are required to declare include land, deposits excluding checking and ordinary accounts, money trusts, securities such as national bonds and stocks, borrowings, loans, and golf course memberships, as well as automobiles, boats, aircraft and artworks valued at ¥1 million or more.

The lawmakers are not obliged to declare the value of stocks held. They are only required to declare the names of issues and the number of shares held.

Funds kept at home are not included.