Japan`s kingmaker vows to stay on as scandal widens

Last Updated: Saturday, January 16, 2010 - 17:24

Tokyo: Ichiro Ozawa, the kingmaker of
Japan`s ruling coalition, said today he had no plans to quit
over his alleged involvement in a growing political funding
scandal and vowed to clear his name.

Prosecutors arrested a ruling party lawmaker and two
others -- all close to Ozawa -- on yesterday and today over
alleged financial irregularities within his political funding
group, which has already been raided by investigators.

But Ozawa, secretary-general of Prime Minister Yukio
Hatoyama`s Democratic Party of Japan, told its annual
convention that he has never used "any illegal funds at all".

"I am going to fulfil my given job with full force,"
Ozawa said as the audience, including state ministers and the
party`s coalition partners, applauded loudly at a conference
hall in central Tokyo.

"I`m determined to fight decisively by standing in my
belief," said Ozawa, 67, adding that he planned to accuse
prosecutors of abuse of power over the case.

Hatoyama backed Ozawa, telling the convention:
"Secretary-general Ozawa said he has never done anything to
violate regulations. As president of the DPJ, I believe in
Ozawa."

But analysts and local media said the scandal is dealing
a serious blow to Hatoyama, whose support continued to slide
following a separate money scandal involving the premier
himself.

PTI



First Published: Saturday, January 16, 2010 - 17:24

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