Hatoyama Plans to Form New Party Spells Trouble for Noda

Speculation is rife that former Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama and his followers will form a new party, and whether he stays in the ruling Democratic Party of Japan could determine the future of Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda’s government.

The DPJ has already lost 49 lawmakers to Ichiro Ozawa’s new Kokumin no Seikatsu ga Daiichi (People’s Life First) and Noda is barely maintaining a majority in the Lower House. If 16 or more lawmakers follow Ozawa’s lead, the DPJ-Kokumin Shinto (People’s New Party) coalition would fall from power.

Hatoyama denied media reports Friday that he could leave the DPJ over his opposition to the consumption tax hike and launch a new party, saying they are “groundless.”

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Ozawa creates new party – Kokumin no Seikatsu ga Daiichi (People’s Lives Come First)

Former Democratic Party of Japan President Ichiro Ozawa launched his new party together with 48 followers Wednesday, vowing to fight DPJ Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda’s quest to raise the consumption tax and restart idled nuclear reactors nationwide.

Ozawa’s new party, Kokumin no Seikatsu ga Daiichi (people’s lives come first), tentatively consists of 37 Lower House lawmakers and 12 Upper House lawmakers. The number is expected to be finalized next week after the DPJ finishes procedures to expel Gaku Kato, who later decided to bolt from the ruling party to join Ozawa’s group.

During the party’s kickoff meeting in Tokyo’s Chiyoda Ward, Ozawa stressed he would concentrate on fiscal and administrative reforms before a tax hike.

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Ozawa Fails to Strike Critical Blow to Ruling Party – And is Now a Quitter

The chief rival to Japan’s prime minister tried his best to wreak havoc Monday by quitting the ruling party to protest a tax increase and encouraging other lawmakers to do the same.

But the defection of power broker Ichiro Ozawa and 49 of his loyalists failed to strike a critical blow to Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda, whose party emerged from this long-anticipated rebellion with its majority intact. Noda now commands a smaller party but also a more unified one, political experts here say, and no longer must he worry about placating the most vocal critic of his policies.

Ozawa, 70, is perhaps Japan’s most divisive politician, a master of Tokyo’s backroom deal-making, and he had hoped to spark a larger defection, which would have been more difficult for Noda to shrug off. Had 55 or more ruling-party members in the lower house handed in resignations, the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) would have lost its majority and Noda would have been susceptible to a no-confidence vote that might have kicked him out of office.

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Ozawa – Japan’s Shadow Shogun Cleared of Fraud

JAPANESE political kingpin Ichiro Ozawa has been cleared of fundraising fraud charges.The 69-year-old veteran once dubbed the “shadow shogun” is now expected to step up his destabilisation campaign against current Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda and his allies.Mr Ozawa – a former leader of the Democratic Party of Japan – had been indicted for allegedly falsifying the accounts of his fundraising body to conceal its use as a slush fund for political donations.His aides had said the mistake was purely technical and their boss had not been aware of it.

Read the rest of the story: Japans shadow shogun, veteran politician Ichiro Ozawa, cleared of fraud .


Ozawa’s aides convicted in scandal

A Japanese court has convicted three former aides to a ruling party powerbroker in a political funding scandal, dealing a blow to his status in the struggling partys public image.

Ichiro Ozawa engineered the Democratic Party of Japans historic rise to power in 2009 but was charged with political funding violations this year. He will face a separate trial beginning Oct. 6 over the case.

Ozawa’s party membership has been suspended over the scandal but he remains a hugely influential figure.

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Noda to seek PM role, while Ozawa hints at posttrial run

Finance Minister Yoshihiko Noda has decided to run for the presidency of the Democratic Party of Japan to succeed Prime Minister Naoto Kan, sources said Monday.

Noda will officially announce the plan at a meeting of his DPJ allies on Tuesday,the sources said.

Noda will set out his policy pledges in an article to be published in a monthly magazine. His campaign will emphasize fiscal austerity in rebuilding Japan’s debt-ridden coffers, the sources said.

Read the rest of the story: Noda to seek DPJ presidency; Ozawa hints at posttrial run.

Ozawa Suspended

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.

Read the rest of the story: Japan ruling party suspends PM’s rival Ozawa.

Japan’s PM Naoto Kan spurns pressure to resign

Japans unpopular Prime Minister Naoto Kan on Friday rejected growing calls from within and without his ruling party to resign to break a political stalemate.A senior member of the ruling Democratic Party of Japan DPJ has asked an opposition party for cooperation in passing budget bills through parliament in exchange for replacing Kan as prime minister, press reports said.Kan, in power for less than a year, called the reported proposal an old-style political gambit."I have no intention in the least bit to return to such old politics," he told reporters at his official residence."What is most important for the people at the moment is the passage of the state budget at a time when the economy is on the verge of recovery," he added.

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The Ozawa 16 – Ozawa Loyalist apply to leave DPJ

Sixteen Lower House members of the Democratic Party of Japan loyal to Ichiro Ozawa applied Thursday to leave the DPJ’s parliamentary group in the Diet and form a new group in an apparent attempt to pressure party leaders to back away from punishing the kingpin.

A parliamentary group is a body comprised of lawmakers who have agreed to vote the same. In most cases they are members of the same party. All DPJ members and some independents currently belong to the DPJ-led parliamentary group.

The lawmakers said the move does not mean they will leave the DPJ.

The move came as the DPJ moves the process forward to suspend Ozawa’s membership in the party over his indictment stemming from his political funding scandal.

Read the rest of the story: Punish Ozawa at your peril: 16 DPJ allies.

Ozawa party membership to be suspended

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.