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.