Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Ozawa, Take One Step Back to Gain Two Steps Forward

The DPJ, DSP and PNP must not get wrapped up in Ozawa's personal legal battles; the best solution is for Ozawa to pull himself out of the picture

I am compelled to again call for Ichiro Ozawa to step down as party chairman.

Japan is facing serious danger. The economy is at a critical juncture. Regional economies have lost their spark. Bankruptcies of midsize and small businesses continue to soar. Unemployment is worsening. If we leave things as they are, Japan is in danger of collapsing.

For the Hatoyama administration to focus on finding a way to break out of this economic funk, it needs to distance itself from the public battle between Ozawa and the prosecutors. This could happen if Ozawa steps down as president of the Democratic Party of Japan.

The issue of whether political fund laws were broken should be decided in the halls of justice. Ozawa needs to separate this fight from the political world and take it up in court. Change this political feud to a judicial one. If Ozawa takes his battle out of the political sphere, it's likely he'll be lauded in the future as a great politician. He would do well to remember that "those who flow with the river ride the rapids smoothly" and give himself up.

Ozawa and some of his supporters imply that if he were to step down as party chief, the DPJ would collapse. That's absurd. The DPJ can survive just fine without him. In fact, the party could start to use the concentrated strength of all its members. The time has come for the DPJ to bid farewell to the Ozawa era.