【PART 1】 Mystery of Okinawa: Military Bases and the Constitution

 

【6】 Where does the real power lie?

 

In the end, the Hatoyama administration only lasted nine months after its formation in September 2009. A prominent issue to be understood was the process of its collapse.

On March 3, 2008, half a year before the advent of the administration, the public secretary of then DPJ leader Mr. Ichiro Ozawa was arrested on charges of violating the Political Funds Control Act. Since it is a recent event, it may be easy to recall. This was the beginning of the “Ozawa incident,” so to speak.(*) Mr. Hatoyama was still the secretary-general, the second-in-command of the party.

The leader of the top opposition party, a sure candidate for Prime Minister in the following general election to be held at least half a year later, had been shot down squarely on completely false charges (which was made clear in the ensuing trial). This affair was transparently a national ploy.

My intention in this book, though, is not to question the prosecution’s attack at the time (in March). As unacceptable as it was, such an attack is a very typical occurrence in political history. The prosecution has a high level of independence, but is still an administrative organization. Therefore, both in Japan and abroad, it is often used by those in power (in this case the Liberal Democratic Party [LDP]) to bring down political adversaries.

What was extraordinary about this case in 2009 was the continuation of the prosecution’s attacks after the DPJ gained power in September. Prime Minister Hatoyama and Secretary-General Ozawa (in other words, the first and second in command of the new administration elected with the people’s overwhelming support) continued to be attacked by the prosecution as they had been when the DPJ was out of power. Major press companies, receiving information leaked by the prosecution, aligned with the prosecution as well.

At this point, it became glaringly evident that the true power in Japan lay not with the official government but “somewhere else” completely unrelated.

 

* ・・・ At the time it was referred to as the “Nishimatsu Construction scandal.” Afterwards, when this trial could not be continued after the change of power, the “Rikuzankai scandal” was added to the criminal count. Put together, these two are called the “Ozawa scandal.” After the arrest of his secretary in the “Nishimatsu Construction scandal,” Mr. Ozawa stepped down from the DPJ leadership position. In the following party election, Mr. Hatoyama became the leader, and won the general election three months later.