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Prosecutors appeal Ozawa's acquittal to Tokyo High Court


Three lawyers acting as prosecutors in the recently concluded trial of former Democratic Party of Japan leader Ichiro Ozawa said Wednesday they will appeal his acquittal in the political funding case.

Ozawa, 69, was cleared by the Tokyo District Court of allegations he conspired with aides to hide 400 million yen he lent to his political funding body in 2004 for a land deal. His aides had said the mistake was purely technical and their boss -- who engineered the party's 2009 election victory -- had not been aware of it.

Prosecutors, who came unstuck over the use of illegal evidence, said it was unthinkable Ozawa had not been in the loop.

The prosecuting team said they would appeal the April 26 ruling at the Tokyo High Court, Fuji TV reported. Attorney Shunzo Omuro said the Tokyo District Court's ruling was wrong and suggested that his team will present new evidence to show that Ozawa engaged in a conspiracy.

Ozawa released a statement in which he said he couldn't understand the appeal. He added he was confident that the original ruling would stand.

After he was acquitted, Ozawa said the court ruling was in line with his assertion that there was no conspiracy related to a false statement. He is the head of the largest grouping in the DPJ, and often seen as the power behind the premiership. In the highly factionalized world of Japanese politics, very little gets done without his say-so, tacit or otherwise.

The decision by prosecutors to appeal the acquittal complicates the DPJ's plan to reinstate his membership which was suspended for the duration of the trial.

But DPJ Secretary General Azuma Koshiishi said that Ozawa's membership would be reinstated on Thursday and that the appeal would have no bearing on it.

The DPJ executive board had differing opinions on whether disciplinary measures should be lifted. Diet Policy Affairs chief Seiji Maehara said it would be premature to reinstate Ozawa’s membership once an appeal has been lodged.

© Japan Today/AFP

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Glad they are hanging on to this - not seen anything convincing to suggest that anyone could not be aware of 400 mio yen.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

In the highly factionalized world of Japanese politics, very little gets done without his say-so, tacit or otherwise

-- Is this how we explain their response to the Tsunami? Very little gets done either way - apart from squabbling like kids and vying for 'power'.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

So much for the concept of double jeopardy.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

So much for the concept of double jeopardy

Japanese say there's no double jeapoardy, since it would just be a continuation of the previous trial. Nah, I don't buy it either.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Does anyone win an appeal in Japan?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

unncessary painstaking by prosecutors, set Ozawa free, political world still needs him !

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

So much for the concept of double jeopardy.

How can an appeal be considered double jeopardy? They are not retrying him, only appealing the verdict. It's up to the higher court to decide to either lay aside the previous ruling or uphold it.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Stop wasting our time and tax dollars. The man will never spend one day in jail. If he's ordered to pay a fine, he could probably pay it from what's in his wallet right now.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

This guy is as slippery as a snake and they will never pin anything on him cos he is 'untouchable'!

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Good! The appeal will ensure that the proceedings go past election time, so he won't be able to get in at least this cycle. Oh wait... this is Japan. Koshiishi already decided and announced he would be reinstated, even though they only promised to 'discuss' it yesterday and while admitting that board members differ on whether or not to do it. Oops! I can't wait to watch his head explode if he can't be reinstated yet. My guess is he'll threaten to break from the DPJ and form a new party; maybe the New New New Sunrise Party?

0 ( +3 / -3 )

The problem for Ozawa is that most of his disciples in the party are first-time elected diet members. Noda in a manner of speaking has him over the coals.

If Ozawa makes a stink, Noda could easily call a snap election and it is common knowledge that many of the members following in Ozawa's shadow would not likely win re-election which would further marginalize Ozawa but also break apart the party and bring the LDP back into power.

Keep your friends close! But keep your enemies even closer!

1 ( +1 / -0 )

whats the point? he is the kingmaker. must be the americans

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

political world still needs him !

Yes, because Japan needs another lying, greedy oyaji politician in this country...

0 ( +3 / -3 )

The game isn't over yet.

The joker ain't the only fool who'll do anything for you Laying out another lie, thinking 'bout a life of crime That's what I'll have to do to keep me away from you

0 ( +0 / -0 )

In the highly factionalized world of Japanese politics, very little gets done

Too true.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

"On what credible grounds ? They falsified evidence because their case was weak and they even messed that up.And now you want a second time to do what..? Do it properly as in the tampering ? You jokers."

Prosecutors are taking comfort from some statements of the judge that appear to cast doubt on Ozawa's truthfulness. Although Noda is so excessively secretive with his own dealings and honest intentions on policy that party unity suffering is really almost inevitable.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Botched job by the prosecution, ruining all their chances at wining anything, then they still stick to it? That those lawyers are not yet fired is beyond my comprehension power.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

His aides had said the mistake was purely technical and their boss—who engineered the party’s 2009 election victory—had not been aware of it.

Mr. Prosecutors.... there is your evidence of wrong doing. Ozawa engineered everything for the party's victory. Ergo, Ozawa have the full knowledge of the 400M yen. No matter what reason about the mistake was, is still a mistake or wrong doing. hehehehehe... Ozawa is lying he is not aware. hahahaha the big boss not aware of what is happening in his office... that's a big BS. ¥400M geezzz that's a huge amount of money not to be aware of.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

What "new evidence" do the prosecution have and why didn't they present it at the first trial? I expect it's "evidence" they have made up and will turn out to be worthless.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

My problem with Ozawa is that I basically agreed to the political lines drawn by him. Specifically giving voting power to permanent foreign residents of Japan, democratizing the job market by actively killing the amakudari practices, etc.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Interesting concept, over in the U.S. if the prosecutor fails to get a conviction the case is over.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Of course he's guilty. He's a Japanese politician. Get off the subway at Nagata cho and point in any direction. You will finger a guilty politician. Who gets prosecuted and who doesn't is a political decision that the prosecutors make on behalf of the rest of the bureaucracy. Japanese prosecutors fabricate evidence like politicians take and give bribes. It's standard operating procedure and, like politicians, only a small fraction are stupid or unlucky enough to get caught or run afoul of the bureaucracy to the extent they make themselves targets for prosecution.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I see we have a few Japanese politicians frequenting the forum. Shouldn't you be working instead of down voting comments?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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