Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Prosecutors Mustn't Allow Separation of Powers to Weaken

The Feb. 18 edition of Shukan Bunshun ran an article entitled: "Ozawa's Derisive Laugh; What is the Special Investigative Unit Doing?" What happened in the prosecutor's office? Independent administration of justice is the jewel of democracy.

From the Feb. 18 edition of Shukan Bunshun: "'Seventy percent of the nation wants him to resign. We can prosecute Ozawa.' Why did the prosecutors saying these things go silent? They were weighed down by passive executives arguing that they didn't want to 'provoke the Democratic Party of Japan.'"

If this information is true, it means the leadership in the judicial branch buckled under once Ichiro Ozawa and the Hatoyama administration applied pressure. The article points the finger at Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirofumi Hirano, but the truth should be revealed in the Diet. If the judiciary doesn't have the courage to execute its duties, we'll see even more corrupt politicians. When the political fund control law is violated, it will be the secretary who is punished as the influential politician walks away scot-free. If the prosecutors really did buckle to pressure from the administration, then Ozawa's DPJ can pretty much do as it pleases.

The nightmare scenario would have the prosecutors at Ozawa's beck and call. At the very least, we hope that the prosecutors will not play a role in Ozawa's political vengeance. If they do acquiesce, then Japan will enter its own Stalin era. We need our judicial branch to be strong and independent. The separation of powers is fundamental to democracy. The prosecutor's office must not yield to political power.