I am not confused by Justice Iida Yoshinobu's determination, following his throwing out evidence that could prove the contrary, that the determination made in 2011 by the trial judge had no errors in it. I mean, just look at Justice Iida's face.
Does this face not just scream, "Mind open to the possibility that the National Police Agency concocted this case out of perjured testimony, forced confessions and circumstantial evidence?"
I am confused by the underlined bits in this Yomiuri Online explanation of the appeal ruling:
The high court endorsed the judgment of the lower court that one motive for the falsification was to prevent secret donations from midsize contractor Mizutani Construction Co. from coming to light.
The judge accepted as credible the testimony of a former Mizutani Construction president that the company gave 50 million yen to Ishikawa to help the company secure a subcontract for a dam construction project.
The judge said Ishikawa falsified the political fund reports of the Rikuzan-kai fund management body of Ozawa, now leader of People's Life Party, in an attempt to conceal 400 million yen he lent to Rikuzan-kai to finance a Tokyo land purchase.
Iida said there were no factual errors in the lower court ruling from circumstantial evidence that the former secretaries deliberately falsified the reports in a conspiracy.
"This is a vicious crime that is against the Political Funds Control Law," Iida said.
The Tokyo High Court's not-guilty ruling for Ozawa, finalized in November 2012, recognized the falsification of the reports by the former aides but accepted that Ozawa may have not been given details of the land deal and may have been unaware of the illegality of the off-the-book treatment of the 400 million yen.
Do you see the problem?
According to the determination of now two courts, Ishikawa committed two crimes.
1) He accepted a 50 million yen secret donation from Mizutani Construction, which he did not properly record
2) He falsely recorded a 400 million yen loan Ozawa made to the Rikuzankai
The problem is he cannot have done both. Because the Monday after Ishikawa supposedly receives a secret donation from Mizutani Construction, he deposits the 400 million loaned by Ozawa in Rikuzankai accounts. He does so by breaking up the 400 million into a number of smaller amounts, this in order, according to his explanation, to camouflage his boss' having 400 million just lying around the house to loan out to anyone without collateral or even a written contract.
One of the amounts of money that Ishikawa deposits is 50 million yen. This the prosecutors insist is not a part of the money that Ozawa loaned the Rikuzankai but is instead the secret donation from Mizutani Construction.
If that is so,
a) are prosecutors not arguing that Ozawa gave only 350 million, not 400 million, and
b) since 400 million was repaid to Ozawa a few years later, why have prosecutors not gone after Ozawa to return the 50 million amount allegedly received from Mizutani Construction?
Note that I am not even considering the glaring inconsistency of the prosecutors simultaneously asserting that Ishikawa was sneaky enough to split the entirely legal Ozawa loan into smaller amounts and too stupid to split up an illegal donation from Mizutani Construction.
No one denies the accounts were a mess regarding the 400 million Ozawa loaned the Rikuzankai, the emergency loan being necessary in order that Rikuzankai could in turn borrow from a bank the money needed to pay for the land for a staff dormitory near Ozawa's residence (the banker's rule being that if one wishes to borrow X amount, one has to show one has the full X amount in collateral).
Was the messed up accounting of the no-interest loan a crime? Only under criteria which, if applied to the loan officers of the country's financial institutions, would put hundreds if not thousands behind bars.
Ozawa, poised to become prime minister prior to the ridiculous arrest of his secretary Okubo Takanori on the charges that led prosecutors to seize the financial records of the Rikuzankai, enabling the discovery amid the tens of thousands of transactions this one bit of victimless funny business, now lords over a tiny rump party on the verge of annihilation. Oh, that and the 400 million.
Sic transit gloria? Not exactly.
The sad joke of the political application of the Political Funds Control Law now goes to a higher but not necessarily better place.