• Kyodo News


Prime Minister Naoto Kan was set to meet Thursday with former Democratic Party of Japan leader Ichiro Ozawa to discuss Ozawa’s fate with the ruling party after his indictment last week over a funds scandal, sources said Wednesday.

Kan, the current head of the DPJ, is set to press Ozawa, a member of the House of Representatives, to take responsibility for the public distrust caused by his scandal. Party sources said he may urge Ozawa to voluntarily leave the party.

Kan last held talks with Ozawa over money politics on Dec. 20.

Should Ozawa refuse to heed Kan’s calls, the prime minister is likely to put in motion the process of suspending Ozawa’s party membership, the lightest penalty under the DPJ’s code of ethics, the sources said.

The DPJ has so far failed to come up with a conclusion on the matter due to strong opposition from Ozawa’s allies in the DPJ.

Ozawa, a longtime power broker, was indicted on Jan. 31 by court-appointed lawyers who overturned prosecutors’ earlier decision not to charge the politician due to a lack of evidence. He has denied any wrongdoing.

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