Democratic Party of Japan suspends membership of veteran politician Ozawa over fraud scandal

February 23rd, 2011 - 12:10 am ICT by BNO News  

TOKYO, JAPAN (BNO NEWS) — The ruling Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) on Tuesday suspended the party membership of veteran politician and its former leader Ichiro Ozawa over a funds fraud scandal, the Japan Times reported.

DPJ’s Standing Officers Council endorsed the suspension which will last until the trail against Ozawa is finished. The veteran politician was indicted last month and refused to leave the DPJ party despite a call from Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan.

Kan, who is also the DPJ president, warned he might dissolve the Lower House and call a snap election after Ozawa’s supporters threatened to not to vote for key legislations needed to support the fiscal 2011 budget.

“The punishment proposed upon me is unprecedented,” Ozawa said in a statement submitted to the party’s ethics panel. “There is no rational reason why I should be singled out.”

Ozawa claimed that the case against him was proposed by an independent judiciary panel and a court should decide if he is guilty of charges that he falsified his political funding reports.

The current situation is causing an internal strife within the DPJ. The ruling party no longer has majority in the Upper House as opposition parties control two thirds of it. A DPJ-led coalition has majority in the Lower House.

Under the terms of the membership suspension, DPJ Secretary General Katsuya Okada said Ozawa can still be a party member but will not be able to run as a party candidate or for the DPJ presidency.

In mid-January, Kan reshuffled his cabinet in order to boost his popularity and improve ties with opposition parties. Kan did not offer any key posts to lawmakers closely affiliated with Ozawa due to the funds scandal.

Related Stories

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Posted in World News |