Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Ozawa won't 'cooperate'

No surprise, really.

Facing a mandated indictment for false reporting of political funds, Ozawa Ichirou (I. Ozawa), the infamous master political player and faction leader that played a major part in bringing minshutou (the Democratic Party of Japan; DPJ) into power, has wisely chosen to not expose himself to an opportunity for perjury. The Opposition response was simple: No sworn testimony?
The DPJ initially proposed to the main opposition Liberal Democratic Party and its partner, the New Komeito party, that they take part in an executive meeting of the House of Representatives' Deliberative Council on Political Ethics on Tuesday.

But the LDP and New Komeito refused, saying it would be meaningless to convene a meeting if Ozawa is unlikely to appear at the ethics panel to give unsworn testimony. They instead called for Ozawa to give sworn testimony, which would make him liable to a charge of perjury.
Very well then, how about cooperating with the court-appointed Prosecution? The State Prosecutor has refused to issue formal charges, but was overruled by an independent judiciary panel (similar to, but not, a Grand Jury in a Common Law system). That means pending indictment will be prosecuted by a legal team appointed by the Courts. So nope, no further pre-indictment cooperation:
Defense attorneys for Ichiro Ozawa have decided that the ruling party kingpin will refuse any request for questioning ahead of his expected indictment over alleged mishandling of political funds, sources close to the matter said Monday.

Ozawa's defense team plans as early as Tuesday to notify court-appointed lawyers who are assuming the role of prosecutors about the policy, the sources said. With the move, the case will enter the final phase toward Ozawa's mandatory indictment.
Very well. A reasonable course of action on his part. To quote the old parting legal shot, "See you in court".

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