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Tuesday, Feb. 2, 2010

Ozawa undergoes second round of questioning


Staff writer

Democratic Party of Japan kingpin Ichiro Ozawa said Monday he has undergone a second round of questioning by prosecutors over accounting irregularities involving his fund management body.

Speaking to reporters during his weekly news conference, Ozawa — the ruling party's secretary general who has been dubbed "the shadow shogun" — said he spent three hours Sunday afternoon speaking to prosecutors about his role in the scandal that has led to the arrests of his former aides.

Ozawa, who was questioned by prosecutors for the first time Jan. 23, has denied involvement in alleged false reporting of funds in connection with a land purchase by his fund management body. He has maintained that the money used for the real estate deal came out of his own pocket.

"I told prosecutors everything I knew or remembered," he said. "I will continue to cooperate with the investigation, and hope the truth will be unveiled."

Ozawa said that although it is highly unexpected, if he were to be charged with a crime over the scandal he would have to take "grave responsibility".

"I don't expect to be held criminally responsible since I haven't received any illicit funds," Ozawa said. "But supposing I were (to be charged), I believe I would have to bear grave responsibility."

The Ozawa scandal, coupled with Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama's own problems involving unreported funds exceeding ¥1.2 billion from his mother, has rocked the administration and eaten away at its public support.



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