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Democratic Party of Japan executives moved a step closer Monday to suspending the membership of former party leader Ichiro Ozawa, who has been indicted over alleged misconduct involving his political funds.

At a meeting of the party’s top executives, a majority agreed to propose at the Standing Officers Council on Tuesday that Ozawa’s membership be suspended, according to DPJ Secretary General Katsuya Okada.

The council will ask the ruling party’s ethics panel to look into the matter, giving Ozawa a chance to respond.

Ozawa’s suspension could be formally endorsed by the council after the ethics body wraps up its deliberations into the scandal.

The same day, a group of lawmakers supporting Ozawa appealed to Okada to hold off on any punishment before a ruling is handed down at the trial over Ozawa’s alleged mismanagement of his political funds.

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