NIHONMATSU, Fukushima Pref. (Kyodo) Former Democratic Party of Japan leader Ichiro Ozawa indicated Saturday his intention to remain in the ruling party despite apparent pressure from its executive for him to leave after he is indicted over a political funds scandal.
“Politics cannot be carried out alone no matter how hard one works,” Ozawa said in an address to a meeting organized by a party colleague in Nihonmatsu, Fukushima Prefecture. “Democracy can be realized only after there are many like-minded partisans working together,” he said.
Ozawa is expected to clarify his stance of not quitting the party or the Diet at a news conference after his indictment, which is expected in the near future, party sources said.
Prime Minister Naoto Kan, who doubles as DPJ president, is expected to urge Ozawa to leave the party voluntarily and punish him if he refuses, for example by formally recommending he leave or suspending his status as a party member.
Ozawa has rejected calls from within the party for him to be punished by saying his imminent indictment is based on a decision by an independent judicial panel of citizens and therefore differs from ordinary legal steps taken by prosecutors.
The prosecutors originally dropped a case against Ozawa, while indicting his three former secretaries on charges of falsely reporting his political funds.
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