Court acquits Japanese political heavyweight of funding scandal
updated 4:32 AM EDT, Thu April 26, 2012
Ichiro Ozawa -- nicknamed the "Shadow Shogun" for his political power-broking -- was acquitted of falsifying a funding report.
- Ichiro Ozawa is a key power-broker in Japan's governing party
- A Tokyo court has found him not guilty in a funding scandal
- He is now in a position to reassert his influence in the party
Tokyo (CNN) -- A Japanese court on Thursday found one of the country's most influential politicians not guilty of participating in a funding scandal, reconfiguring the balance of power in the governing party.
The Tokyo District Court acquitted Ichiro Ozawa -- nicknamed the "Shadow Shogun" for his political power-broking -- of falsifying a funding report.
Ozawa, who was forced to resign as head of the governing Democratic Party of Japan in 2009 because of the scandal, is now in a position to reassert his considerable clout within the party.
He opposes Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda's plans to double the sales tax, a controversial measure aimed at tackling Japan's huge public debt.
The accusations against Ozawa were related to questionable financial reporting by his political funding organization in 2004 and 2005. He has insisted that he is innocent of the charges.
Ozawa was instrumental in bringing the DPJ into power in 2009, when it beat the Liberal Democratic Party, which had governed Japan continuously for almost 50 years.
In 2010, he launched a failed bid to challenge to Naoto Kan, Noda's predecessor, for the premiership.
Many politicians owe their jobs to deals struck by Ozawa, a political operative in Japan for four decades.
Part of complete coverage on
updated 10:26 AM EST, Wed February 6, 2013
Advocates say the exam includes unnecessarily invasive and irrelevant procedures -- like a so-called "two finger" test.
updated 7:09 PM EST, Tue February 5, 2013
Supplies of food, clothing and fuel are running short in Damascus and people are going hungry as the civil war drags on.
updated 1:01 PM EST, Wed February 6, 2013
Supporters of Richard III want a reconstruction of his head to bring a human aspect to a leader portrayed as a murderous villain.
updated 10:48 AM EST, Tue February 5, 2013
Robert Fowler spent 130 days held hostage by the same al Qaeda group that was behind the Algeria massacre. He shares his experience.
updated 12:07 AM EST, Wed February 6, 2013
As "We are the World" plays, a video shows what looks like a nuclear attack on the U.S. Jim Clancy reports on a bizarre video from North Korea.
The relationship is, once again, cold enough to make Obama's much-trumpeted "reset" in Russian-U.S. relations seem thoroughly off the rails.
Ten years on, what do you think the Iraq war has changed in you, and in your country? Send us your thoughts and experiences.
updated 7:15 AM EST, Tue February 5, 2013
Musician Daniela Mercury has sold more than 12 million albums worldwide over a career span of nearly 30 years.
Photojournalist Alison Wright travelled the world to capture its many faces in her latest book, "Face to Face: Portraits of the Human Spirit."
updated 7:06 PM EST, Tue February 5, 2013
Europol claims 380 soccer matches, including top level ones, were fixed - as the scandal widens, CNN's Dan Rivers looks at how it's done.
updated 7:37 AM EST, Wed February 6, 2013
That galaxy far, far away is apparently bigger than first thought. The "Star Wars" franchise will get two spinoff movies, Disney announced.
updated 2:18 AM EST, Fri February 8, 2013
It's an essential part of any trip, an activity we all take part in. Yet almost none of us are any good at it. Souvenir buying is too often an obligatory slog.