Wife writes of divorcing radiation-scared Ozawa

by Minoru Matsutani

Staff Writer

The wife of Democratic Party of Japan kingpin Ichiro Ozawa has divorced him, saying he fled Tokyo soon after the Fukushima nuclear crisis started last March out of fear of radiation, according to the weekly Shukan Bunshun, citing a letter it says she wrote to his supporters in November.

“Facing unprecedented catastrophe, politicians must be the first to stand up, but in fact Ozawa ran away with his secretaries because of fear of radiation,” states the letter allegedly by Kazuko Ozawa.

The Shukan Bunshun website has an image of the first page of the 11-page handwritten letter, large and clear enough for its words to be read. The print magazine also has photos of the letter and its entire content in printed form, with a few names blacked out.

A person in charge at Shukan Bunshun was not immediately available for comment. Calls to Ichiro Ozawa’s offices were unanswered.

“As I saw him abandon people in Iwate who have supported him a long time, I realized Ozawa is not a person good for Iwate and Japan. Therefore, I divorced him,” the letter states. Iwate is Ichiro Ozawa’s home district.

The letter does not say when Kazuko Ozawa filed for divorce but states she changed her address in July.

No part of Iwate is within the 30-km evacuation zone around the Fukushima No. 1 plant. It is also outside the 80-km no-go zone the U.S. and other foreign governments recommended for their citizens for the first few months into the nuclear disaster.

The letter states that on the morning of March 16, 2011, one of Ozawa’s secretaries came to Kazuko Ozawa at their home in Setagaya Ward, Tokyo, and said: “I let (Ozawa’s) secretaries move away on (Ozawa’s) order after receiving confidential information on radiation. I already let my family move to Osaka.”

The secretary, according to the letter, said Ozawa would also flee and requested that she and her sons find a place to go. After she refused, it says, Ozawa locked himself away in the home and refused to go out, until finally packing a travel bag and leaving on March 25. Although she didn’t know where Ozawa went, she suspects he went to Kyoto, according to the letter.

Around that time, the news media began wondering where Ozawa was and set up TV cameras in front of the house, according to the letter. Then he went from wherever he was to the Iwate Prefectural Government building on March 28, it says.

In the month that followed, Ozawa mainly stayed at home, drank alcohol with young lawmakers and began discussing a plan to overhaul then-Prime Minister Naoto Kan’s administration, according to the letter.

The letter includes descriptions of mistreatment.

It says Ozawa originally wanted to marry a woman engaged in “mizushobai,” a term describing occupations such as bar hostess, but people around him opposed the marriage. He then decided to marry Kazuko, it says, adding that they were introduced to each other by the late Prime Minister Kakuei Tanaka.

Ozawa, it says, told her, “You only wanted status, didn’t you” and “I cannot leave (the mizushobai woman) but I can divorce you anytime.”

It adds: “He escaped out of fear of radiation amid unprecedented disaster, and had no intention to grieve for the loss of family members of his supporters or help with the restoration of his hometown. I feel deeply ashamed of helping the man who tries to run politics on behalf of his own protection.”