Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Dictator Ozawa Mustn't Entangle Govt. in His Personal Battle

Japan is endangered by Ozawa's recklessness. A political party unable to discuss issues freely can't be trusted. There's no future for an anti-democratic DPJ frozen with fear of its dictator.

"With all fears, the most frightening thing is a person who clings to panic." —Friedrich Schiller, German playwright (1759-1805)

By chance, I recently ran into an old friend and Democratic Party of Japan lawmaker. I asked him, "I've heard that no one feels they can speak up within the DPJ. Is that true?"

"Yes," he replied. "The climate inside the party is strangely oppressive."

The DPJ has become a major party with more than 300 seats in the lower house, but at the same time, it has become an anti-democratic monolith that won't allow free discussions. A reporter who covers the party told me, "No one can criticize party chief Ichiro Ozawa. Everyone seems abnormally scared of him. They're so scared of Ozawa, they can't say a thing."

Ozawa continues to ignore prosecutors' requests to question him in connection with the recent money scandal. The average citizen would never be able to get away with this behavior, but Ozawa keeps arrogantly disregarding the requests. The situation remains confused because Ozawa has taken such an arrogant and privileged stance.

When Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama is asked about this, he replies that it's "something for party chief Ozawa to decide." Hatoyama is the head of the executive branch. The public prosecutor's office is part of that branch. Hatoyama is protecting Ozawa as the latter defies the prosecutorial requests. It's simply ridiculous. One can't help but conclude that Hatoyama doesn't have what it takes to be prime minister. The Japanese government is beginning to panic, creating a dangerous situation. Fears grow about the August 30, 2009 elections backfiring. The political change we voted for has been betrayed by Ozawa, Hatoyama and the rest of the DPJ. The Japanese people need once again to bring about political change in order to protect their living standards and their democracy. We need the courage to bring Ozawa despotism to its knees.