Saturday, January 16, 2010

On Ozawa's Choosing To Fight

Democratic Party of Japan Secretary-General Ozawa Ichiro came out fighting mad in his speech at the DPJ party congress today...as well he should. In arresting three of his former secretaries, one of whom is on trial in another case similarly built on unsupported accusations of construction company executives under criminal investigation and another who was 72 hours away from having parliamentary immunity, the Tokyo Public Prosecutors Office has committed such a blatantly political act one should look for the daifuku boxes marked "Many thanks, your friend, the Liberal Democratic Party" on the desk of the head of the Tokyo District Prosecutor. That the trio will now be held in solitary confinement in cells that are not heated though we are in the middle of January, ostensibly for a maximum 23 days but in practice ad infinitum because judges, being deferential to the Public Prosecutors Office, almost never say no to a request for an extension of a detention, until such a time one of them signs a confession implicating himself, the others being held and anyone else living on this planet, does little to inspire confidence that justice will be done. Indeed, it pretty much guarantees that it won't.

The only hope is that the citizens, who are neither stupid nor particularly forgetful, will see the similarities between the prosecutors' actions in this case and their conduct of the Livedoor case against Horie Takafumi. You can take a pudgy, unattractive, widely-disliked renegade who is in the process of supplanting the Ancien Regime using its own weapons against it and try to bring him down by arresting his associates in mid-January, using the cold, dark, loneliness and police browbeating to coerce them to betraying their boss -- but please do not insult me by doing it twice in four years' time.

We like our heroes handsome, young and uncomplicated. We are not going to get what we want in this instance. Ozawa Ichiro is smarmy, arrogant, physically unattractive, secretive, wrong-headed, treacherous and insincere. He is far removed from anyone's idealized portrait of a hero. The prosecutors are counting our dislike of Ozawa the politician to blind us to the rampant disregard for due process, fairness and balance in the cases being brought against Ozawa's secretaries -- a belief in our gullibility that is far more ugly, arrogant, wrong-headed, secretive, treacherous and insincere than the prosecutors seeming ultimate human target.

7 comments:

itllallendintears said...

Happy that he's choosing to fight on... you're right he's a mean mother, but sometimes that's what it takes!

Also amusing that the chinese websites have better english coverage of japanese politics than any of the japanese papers can be bothered to provide.

Anonymous said...

This looks like an interesting addition to the debate:

http://opinion.infoseek.co.jp/article/721

Slotermeyer said...

are he and the arrested aides retaining attorneys, building a defense team? J media stories never mention this. only that they're being tossed into a cell.
what's the deal? are they denied the right to mount a defence?

MTC said...

Slotermeyer -

The incarcerated are allowed to meet with their attorneys but only at the convenience of the prosecutors. Furthermore, since arrest carries a strong presumption of guilt, the role of an attorney in most cases is not to mount a defense but to negotiate a lesser punishment for the defendant. Since the pace of court proceedings is glacial and Japan is a double jeopardy state, the defendant has a strong incentive to plead guilty to a lesser offense even when innocent, or to perjure himself when testifying against purported co-conspirators, all in the hopes of avoiding spending the rest of his life on trial.

Slotermeyer said...

thanks for the explanation.

Anonymous said...

Interesting that the ultimate sources of the evidence against these men are two constructions companies - Nishimatsu and Kajima. What has the DPJ just done to construction companies' budgets? Cut them by 20%. And who stands to gain most from getting the DPJ out of office? Construction companies. Is this how LDP diet members would be treated in these circumstances? Of course not. This is a travesty of justice - prosecutors are simply trying to overturn election results, as they did in 1994. So where is the western media in all this? Why don't they have the smarts to understand what's really happening?

Anonymous said...

http://www.yomiuri.co.jp/feature/20100116-014762/news/20100119-OYT1T00388.htm

http://www.yomiuri.co.jp/national/news/20100119-OYT1T00060.htm?from=main1

Here comes the selective leaking.