Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Conspiracy Theories Flourish in Wake of Arrest

The arrest of the head secretary of opposition leader Ichiro Ozawa and the full-scale criminal investigation into Ozawa's office has led to rampant talk of a US-directed conspiracy against him. I've received many mails asking me why I don't pursue the idea that this is an American plot and that this conspiracy was hatched in the US. Just last week, a Middle East TV station started off its interview with me by asking, "What do you think of the explanation that the arrest of Ozawa's aide was retaliation by the US?" I've heard the same question from a weekly magazine reporter. This conspiracy theory is spreading like wildfire. But I believe this is going too far.

I've been replying that "there is no detailed evidence that proves this theory, so we're not in a position to make these claims," but the people asking the question don't seem to agree. Perhaps they have information that underscores this theory, but I don't.

Those promulgating the theory claim that the US is fearful of what Ozawa will say about the US 7th Fleet (which is based in Yokosuka). But there is so much we'd need to look into to give these claims credence: How has the US reacted to Ozawa's remarks? What is the relationship between the US intelligence community and the Japanese prosecutor's office? The list goes on.

At any rate, this theory is in full bloom. Lots of people are calling this the US and LDP conspiracy. I've felt pressure recently from more people telling me it's a problem if I don't come out and attack this as a conspiracy. This is troubling. I'm hoping for calm. What we need now is sober judgment.