apan’s ruling Democrat Party on Monday suspended power-broker Ichiro Ozawa for three months after he abstained from a no-confidence motion against Prime Minister Naoto Kan, a report said.
DPJ Secretary General Katsuya Okada and other executives said they had made their decision after Ozawa repeatedly refused to follow the party line and back the centre-left leader, the Kyodo news report said.
Kan survived the opposition no-confidence motion last week that some rebel members of his own party had threatened to support, after appeasing his enemies by promising to step down but without specifying a date.
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A split in Japans centre-left ruling party deepened Tuesday as it suspended the membership of the premiers key rival, faction boss Ichiro Ozawa, who faces charges over a funding scandal.Prime Minister Naoto Kan — battling cabinet approval ratings below 20 percent and the threat of parliamentary gridlock — last week faced down a revolt by 16 Ozawa supporters who threatened not to vote with his government.Ozawa, a veteran backroom fixer sometimes dubbed the "Shadow Shogun", last year failed in a bid to topple Kan as head of the Democratic Party of Japan DPJ and prime minister but has remained a thorn in his side since then.A scandal over political funding irregularities has long hung over Ozawa and given ammunition to the conservative opposition, which has threatened to block key budget financing bills in the divided Diet legislature.Prosecutors in January indicted Ozawa, 68, over the affair. He and three former aides who also face trial deny any wrongdoing.Ozawa, in talks with the DPJs ethics panel, proclaimed his innocence and said there was "no rational reason" he should be suspended.Kans DPJ has repeatedly urged Ozawa to stand down, worried the scandal will taint the party with the whiff of Japans old-style money politics.
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Top officials in the Democratic Party of Japan on Monday proposed to suspend the party membership of political powerbroker Ichiro Ozawa over a funding scandal that has sharply divided the ruling party.
DPJ executives agreed on the proposal at their meeting Monday and plan to present it at the party’s Standing Officers Council as early as Tuesday, officials said.
The punitive move came after court-appointed lawyers indicted Ozawa last month on charges of involvement in false financial statements filed in 2004 and 2005 by the body that manages his campaign funds.
If his membership is officially suspended, Ozawa will be stripped of all party titles and financial support.
“The decision is what the DPJ showed as its responsibility,” Prime Minister Naoto Kan, who is also the DPJ’s president, told a news conference.
Read the rest of the story: Japans ruling party seeks to punish powerbroker – Yahoo! News.