"Ozawa Verdict and its Political Impact" by Curtis & Nakano
Burgess Professor of Political Science, Columbia University
Professor of Political Science, Sophia University
The speech and Q & A will be in EnglishDescription:
He is probably the most divisive figure in Japanese politics, and the key player in the post-1993 realignment of the Diet. Nearly 20 years ago, Ichiro Ozawa left the Liberal Democratic Party, forcing it from power for the first time in almost four decades. His aim he said was to modernize the country's crumbling political architecture.
In 2003 he brought his team of loyal lawmakers to the up-and-coming the Democratic Party of Japan, helping to give the party the heft and credibility it needed to win the 2007 upper house election. Many observers expected him to be prime minister and pull Japan out of the vice-like grip of powerful bureaucrats and away from its dependence on the US security embrace.
But instead, Ozawa has become mired in a funding scandal that forced him, before the DPJ's historic 2009 victory, to relinquish power to Yukio Hatoyama. For the last three years, Ozawa has fought and lost a campaign against public prosecutors who have finally brought him to trial on corruption charges.
As the trial verdict looms, the man dubbed the "shadow shogun" still divides opinion. To his supporters, he is a victim of a relentless political campaign by an establishment that cannot tolerate his challenge to the status quo. Japan's conservative media has been working hand-in-hand to bring down the Ozawa threat. To his opponents, including many in the DPJ, he is a relic of the past, a purveyor of old-style backroom money politics.
Few commentators are as qualified to speak about Ozawa's career and its denouement as our two guests. Prof. Gerald Curtis is Burgess Professor of Political Science at Columbia University and a veteran watcher of Japan's political scene. Koichi Nakano teaches political science at Sophia University and is one of Japan's best-known commentators on Diet affairs. On the day (April 26th) that the Ozawa verdict is due to be delivered, both men will discuss its implications and its potential impact on Japanese politics.
Menu: Beef Rib Steak with Fried Onion and Madeira Sauce, Potato and Green Vegetables, Seasonal Salad
Gerald Curtis, Burgess Professor of Political Science, Columbia University
Koichi Nakano, Professor of Political Science, Sophia University