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Tuesday, Jan. 26, 2010
Ozawa again denies direct role in fund scandal, vows to stay on
By ALEX MARTIN
Repeating his previous claim, Democratic Party of Japan Secretary General Ichiro Ozawa on Monday denied receiving any illicit corporate donations and vowed to continue working as the DPJ's No. 2.
The DPJ kingpin was questioned by prosecutors Saturday over accounting irregularities involving his fund management body that led to the arrest of three current and former aides on suspicion of misreporting political donations. Ozawa afterward denied any involvement in the funding scandal.
Speaking at his weekly news conference, Ozawa said that although he felt supervisory responsibility for any "mistakes" that his secretaries might have made during the accounting process, he intended to remain and "fulfill his duties" as party secretary general.
"As a matter of fact, I don't have the time to personally go through all the accounting work," he said, explaining that he had to trust those who work for him with the bookkeeping.
"But I'd like to apologize to the public for any troubles I may have caused," he said, adding will to cooperate with any future investigations.
Regarding the opposition camp's demand that he face questioning in the Diet over the scandal, Ozawa said he would follow any decisions reached between the ruling and opposition parties.
Rikuzankai, Ozawa's fund management body, allegedly failed to report ¥400 million in income and roughly ¥352 million in expenses in connection with the purchase of a Tokyo land plot in 2004.
Prosecutors suspect illegal donations were included in the purchase money, possibly from general contractors. Ozawa, however, has claimed he used his own funds for the purchase.