Friday, August 10, 2012

So I Guess My Question Is: Will the DPJ Take an Ozawa Friend Down for Embezzlement/Theft?

I’ll just translate the Sankei article for you; it’s quicker that way.
DPJ Iwate Chapter Funds “Transferred without Permission” to Accounts Held by “People’s Life First” [Representative and Assemblyman]

It became known on the August 10 that 45 million yen managed by the DPJ Iwate Chapter had been transferred to the political funds management organizations of a lower house member and prefectural assemblyman who had left the party and joined the new party People’s Life First.

Kokan Wtanabe, the Acting Representative of the DPJ Prefectural Chapter, held a press conference the same day and sought the return [of the funds, stating], “It has not followed official procedures and is inappropriate. Distribution of assets to collective defectors is impossible.”

According to Mr. Watanabe, on July 3, the day after Ichiro Ozawa, “Life” Representative submitted his notice of withdrawal to the DPJ, 45 million yen, representing most of the money that the prefectural chapter had been managing, was transferred from the prefectural chapter’s account to the funds management organizations of the representative, elected from the Tohoku Proportional Bloc and the prefectural assemblyman.

[According to Mr. Watanabe, t]he representative and assemblyman explained to the prefectural chapter that “political fund raising parties and funds from the old Liberal Party are also sources for the funds.” A document reached Mr. Watanabe on July 9 stating that “the money is being held temporarily and will be deposited in the Life’s account.”
This is wrong in so many ways I don’t know where to start (I gave you the translation partly so you could figure them out yourself); suffice to say that this is a clear-cut case of criminal embezzlement or theft. However, I suspect that the 78 year old Chouemon Kikuchi*, whom Mr. Watanabe apparently refused to name and the reporters on the local beat meekly agreed to equip with the cloak of anonymity, and more broadly Ichiro Ozawa have enough residual political capital vis-à-vis the DPJ loyalists—this is Iwate—to work out a mutually acceptable settlement. With that, I guess I’ve answered my own question.

* The identity of the culprit is so easy to figure out that I can put it out here without any fear of committing any civil or criminal act of defamation.


Jan Moren said...

I kind of wonder: doesn't the Japanese penal code require the police and prosecutors to take up a case like this, whether the affected party files a complaint or not? What I mean is, isn't this out of the DPJ's hands no matter what? Apparently not.

Jun Okumura said...


It is my impression that the public prosecutor as well as the police tend to give a passto these “internal” squabbles unless the victim decides to file a complaint or whre a third party is harmed. The downside of this is that we have domestic conflict and stalking cases spilling over into overt violence before the authorities decide to step in. Here, it could be argued that the public is the third party aggrieved. In any case, any member of the public could file a complaint and possibly force a prosecution through the review commission under the current Criminal Procedures Code. Let’s wait and see.