Thursday, February 04, 2010

Praise for Ozawa Ichiro and His People

In a few hours' time, if the news media have it right, Ishikawa Tomohiro, Okubo Toshinori and possibly Ikeda Mitsutomo will be indicted for violations of campaign finance law. These indictments will be a travesty of justice and an insult to simple decency.

That the actions of the prosecutors shall not be a dagger into the heart of democracy is due to the fortitude of these three men, as they resisted in giving the prosecutors what they had been seeking all along: a pretext to arrest Democratic Party of Japan Secretary-General Ozawa Ichiro.

In Ozawa, the prosecutors had the perfect villain: smarmy, arrogant, secretive, tough toward the United States and in cahoots with the Chinese leadership, treacherous (fatally treacherous, in the case of Prime Minister Obuchi Keizo), insincere, a former confidant of Tanaka Kakuei, willing to promote bad policy in search of votes and most importantly, physically ugly.

People would cheer his downfall.

The only problem was, the prosecutors did not have a crime...and going though all of the material seized from Ozawa's home and offices for months and placing Ozawa's former aides in prison for 23 days in mid-winter did not lead to the discovery or the manufacture of one.

Which among us could undergo similar scrutiny and not be found guilty of some violation? Very few, I would suspect.

That the prosecutors are predicted to be throwing in the towel despite having burrowed through mountains of evidence should indicate how utterly we have been manipulated into hating Ozawa and assuming his guilt. We have been fed heaps of horse manure by the conservative politico-media complex, and for the most part, we have accepted what were fed as fact.

Ozawa is an unpleasant man to look at and listen to. I am for one am glad he is predicted to continue assaulting my senses for some time to come.


Anonymous said...

While I am quite partial to the narrative you paint, is there any reason to believe that the likely to be indicted three will end up not being convicted? While it does suck that far lesser crimes went unpunished during LDP times, surely this is, especially from an average citizen's point of view, only a travesty if other similar crimes that are ongoing now are being ignored by the prosecutors office. If they are indicted and not convicted that would be another matter - as I suggested in another comment the power to even taint one's political career (without wrongdoing) is a potential abuse of power. You seem very strident and confident - almost as if you know something we do not???

Anonymous said...

"That the actions of the prosecutors shall not be a dagger into the heart of democracy is due to the fortitude of these three men..."

Oh, give me a break. There's nothing heroic about any of this, and it's pointless to pretend that there is-as if we needed to lie to ourselves to think that politics was worthwhile.

Mashu said...

You really illustrated essentially exactly what I wanted to say about all this. I listen to NHK radio every night for a good news review, and for the past several weeks (I can't even recall how long it has been) the Ozawa investigation is the very first item mentioned. Every time the content has been largely the same, each day those close to the investigation are cementing how close they are to bringing him down.

As you mentioned as well, I don't particularly care for Ozawa much either. All previous activities aside, the man's personality just rubs me the wrong way a bit, and so I as well ate it up, just assuming any day now he'd be off to prison, when, only a few weeks prior, he was being lauded as the key player in the current administration. My brain didn't make what, in hindsight, should have been an extremely simple bit of skepticism.

Okay, from here on in media skepticism is set to full power.

MTC said...

sigma1 -

I am fairly certain the trio scheduled to be indicted filed financial reports that take liberties with the law. I nevertheless feel that a travesty of justice is taking place

a) because this was a fishing expedition, a narrative spun out of a funny set of transactions seemingly necessitated by the peculiar problem that political funding organizations are not legal persons and the claims of executives of troubled mid-sized construction firms (claims vigorously denied by Ishikawa and Okubo) of handing bags of cash to Ozawa's people, without any physical evidence backing up those claims.

b) because if every filing of misleading financial reports with the authorities were being prosecuted with equal vigor, Japan would have no bankers or accountants, at least unincarcerated ones.

MTC said...

Anonymous -

You write, "There's nothing heroic about any of this, and it's pointless to pretend that there is-as if we needed to lie to ourselves to think that politics was worthwhile."

Your position seems to presume that propaganda does not exist, or is ineffective.

Anonymous said...

So after the biggest witch-hunt since Salem, we now find that the prosecutors didn't have any evidence. I'm only surprised they didn't make some up. Ozawa should start a dozen lawsuits. Very disappointing how the international press has just rehashed the whole steaming pile of politically-motivated b***s*** in the Japanese media without explaining to their readers that it was just a politically-motivated pile of b***s***. Is Martin Fackler the only foreign journalist in Tokyo with a brain?

Anonymous said...

I'm trying to gauge how this will play with the public (and the follow on political consequences of this). Point B is well taken. I often have a hard time though figuring out how realistic the Japanese public are about these indiscretions however. There seems to be some pragmatism there, but how much is uncertain.

Stuck within Point A is the thing that stood out for me during this as someone who is interested in the consequences but has not expended the time on the legal miniature. The claims of the mid-sized construction companies. I think the public is savvy enough to draw the obvious conclusion about the the death throes of the ancien regime from this.

Thanks for the response.

MTC said...

Anonymous -

Fackler's article on the Prosecutors Office was welcome. His skepticism and energy are only sporadic, though. He has not published, to my knowledge, any noteworty follow up articles.

Peter Alford of The Australian published a lenghthy article ( that at least warns of the powers of the Prosecutors Office.

In terms of consistently independent political reporting, Isabel Reynolds of Reuters seems the standout.

Anonymous said...


"Your position seems to presume that propaganda does not exist, or is ineffective."

What? I'm confused as to what you mean. I was saying that Ozawa isn't a particularly heroic person, based on his long record-and from what you've said about him here, you seem to agree. The fact that the media's been unfair in trying to tear him down doesn't make him a saint as a result, and I think people realize that. That's also the cynical political basis of the prosecution, but there's no need to belabor the fact.

Anonymous said...

I wholeheartedly agree. Evidence matters.