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Welcome to TokyoFreePress Saturday, July 26 2014 @ 08:09 AM CDT
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The Game is Over for Ichiro Ozawa, Japan's Most Unscrupulous Political Racketeer


More often than not the head of
the Democratic Party of Japan
wears a geeky mask presumably
because he is determined not to
let out the truth about his venal
political career and the collusive
alliance between the U.S. and
Japan, on which he has made a
fortune.


AS USUAL the revelation of what will possibly lead to the fall of Ichiro Ozawa came too little and too late. On March 3 the government-paid 1st secretary of the head of the Democratic Party of Japan was arrested by the Tokyo District Public Prosecutors Office on suspicion of receiving donations from the now scandal-tainted Nishimatsu Construction Co., in violation of the Political Funds Control Law.

At first the prosecutors were saying the bribe had totaled 25 million yen, but in a matter of 24 little hours, the amount ballooned to 300 million. Actually the prosecutors and the members of the press club attached to their office needn't have used the roundabout method to gradually immunize the general public. Everyone had known that to Ozawa, 300 million is nothing but peanuts relative to the total amount he has collected throughout his 40-year career in politics.

Everyone of us had also known why the wrongdoing by politicians always dribbles out to the surface this way. These prosecutors seem to worry that this society could not withstand a laparotomy which would create a sea of pus across the board. More importantly, Justice Minister Kunio Hatoyama, who heads the prosecutors office, certainly knows that the entire edifice would instantly fall into pieces once a thorough investigation were to be launched leaving no sacred cows. Given the reluctance inherent to the prosecutors, normally disguised as prudence, it looks quite likely that they had a very special reason for targeting Ozawa this time around. They seem ready to run a risk of accidentally hitting the core of the root problem. For those who are unfamiliar with the convoluted political landscape here, the grandfather of the Justice Minister is Ichiro Hatoyama, a former prime minister, and a younger brother of Yukio Hatoyama, Secretary General of the DPJ (not a typo.)

Actually this is Ozawa's nightmare finally coming true. In the past, every time the nation's premiership came within his reach, he recoiled in fear of this scenario. But this time, even Prime Minister Aso had looked prepared for cession of power to the DPJ, until the offices of the crook, alias the "champion of reform," were raided.

In the last couple of years the ruling coalition between the Liberal Democratic Party and Komeito has constantly trod the path to self-destruction. (Komeito is a party backed by a legitimized cult named Soka Gakkai.) As a result, the DPJ, which was formed when the defectors from the LDP such as Ozawa joined forces with the former mainstream faction of the Social Democratic Party, is now facing a windfall opportunity to grab power.

Against this backdrop, Ozawa and the elder Hatoyama are now saying that the arrest of the secretary of the party head must be a conspiracy of the Aso administration. This cannot be true, however. We are already seeing the list of the recipients of donations from the construction company rapidly growing so long as to include big figures in the ruling LDP, such as former Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori. And if you have a certain amount of commonsense, you are inclined to believe that what is going on between the Hatoyama brothers is a fixed bout, at best.

A little more plausible conspiracy theory has it that now the entire bureaucracy is striking back against the legislature which has grown more and more defiant to it in the "theatricized politics" staged by the media. Now the bureaucrats feel that their vested interests are endangered. Although this theory has some point, they have no reason to single out Ozawa's camp. One of its most powerful support groups is the Federation of Public Corporation and Government Enterprise Workers' Unions, which was the most important tribute to Ozawa from the defectors of the SDP. In Japan's public sector, there is no conflicts of interest between employers and employees. From the taxpayers' point of view, both are parasites.
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The Tip of The Tip

In October, the story about Takemasa Moriya, former Administrative Vice Defense Minister, surfaced from out of nowhere. It went like this: The 63-year-old bandit had been entertained in 200 golf junkets by then-senior managing director of Yamada Corporation, a trading firm that intermediates between the Defense Ministry and American defense contractors such as Lockheed Martin.

At that time an independent defense analyst said the revelation must be "the tip of the tip of the iceberg" of the structural corruption. Of course he refrained from elaborating on his remark but he must be damned right. This sort of allegation always comes out when an unsuccessful bidder who thinks his money didn't pay off starts to whistleblow. So it's inevitable that the revelation comes in bits and pieces.

If there were some investigative journalists in this country, however, they would soon uncover the total picture taking a cue from the firsthand accounts by the resentful briber. Unfortunately, though, Japanese news media, themselves, are an integral part of the structural corruption. So, they have used their same old modus operandi and doled out little by little the charges against the small-time ex-vice ringleader and his pet contractor. They certainly know that this way they can immunize their audiences and readerships for an abyss we are destined to see sooner or later.

Yet, it's not that they are poised to ultimately confess to what's really going on in this kleptocracy. Their M.O. No. 2 says, "Once the truth has started gushing out, try hard to localize and marginalize its implication." They look like an egregious criminal willingly admitting to the smallest part of his guilt to camouflage the main part.
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MLIT chief plays dumb in face of flourishing corruption

MLIT chief keeps sweating

According to newspaper reports, Kazuo Kitagawa, Minister of Land, Infrastructure and Transport, announced on July 1 that the MLIT plans to "voluntarily" refrain from allowing its officials to accept post-retirement positions with the 47 bridge-building firms that belong to the bid-rigging groups.

And most media organizations who belong to Nippon Kisha Kurabu, the notoriously exclusive national press club specializing in news-rigging in favor of the government, more or less, approved this "corrective measure" against the decades-old and widespread practice of amakudari, or descent from heaven.

In June the Fair Trade Commission filed a criminal complaint against three major steel bridge contractors of Japan Highway Public Corporation (see Note below,) i.e., Yokogawa Bridge Corp., Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd., Ishikawajima-Harima Heavy Industries Co. on the charge of violation of the Anti-Monopoly Law.

Note: JH is going to be separated from thw MLIT and privatized in October this year in line with the Junichiro Koizumi's pointless "trinity reform" plans.
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A case study for BWT-based corporate criminology

As I preannounced in the May 24 TFP piece about my corporate criminology based on the Broken Windows Theory advocated by James Wilson and George Kelling, I am going to flesh it out here so you can visualize how typically a today's corporate crime will sprout out. But be prepared for a rather prosaic scenario because I have no intention to depict a full-blown and downright crime like in a crime novel. Neither do I have a plan to discuss the issue more in general terms so my criminology looks like a scholastic and esoteric theory. After all I'm dealing, here, with small-time crooks rampant across the corporate world of Japan, who don't really deserve my time for that.

Introductory Notes:

1) The characters and situations in my story are 120% fictitious and imaginary, and do not portray or are not intended to portray any actual persons or organizations.

2) If your area of expertise does not include accounting and finance, please do not try too hard to understand the accounting terminology these executives are showing off their knowledge of at the clubhouse. It's just that I cannot avoid using these words because there is no such corporate crime which has no financial implications in it. We won't call it a corporate crime if an employee kills his manager just out of a personal grudge.
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TFP advocates corporate criminology based on Broken Windows Theory

Since the launch of this blog, we have taken up a lot of corporate scandals and other forms of crime. We have also discussed many times issues with this system and polity, along with the underlying culture, under which these wrongdoings are proliferating. The mainstream media are doing more or less the same thing because after all, their primary mission is to act as the guardians of justice.

Nonetheless we've seen little signs that the proliferation of corporate crimes, juvenile crimes or any other form of crimes is going to subside anytime soon. Apparently neither the mainstream media nor we bloggers are making the slightest difference to the ever-deteriorating situation.

For the media's part, there are a variety of reasons, of course, for their inability to tackle the formidable task of fighting crimes wholeheartedly. They are too taboo-ridden to dig into the root problems. They are too conscious about ad revenues to reveal wrongdoings by advertisers. They are too cautious about alerting the general public to an early indication of a criminal act out of excessive, and often false, consideration for humanrights, and perhaps subscription revenues. They are capitalized in an infamously convoluted and often collusive cross-shareholding structure so much that they cannot act independently. Among other things they always prioritize their own interests over public interests whenever the behavior of their own organizations is challenged. As a result, all they can do in the face of an upsurge in crimes is just Monday morning quarterbacking. Talking about measures for crime prevention on Saturday nights is out of the question.
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Ore, ore scams and lottery hoaxes

Practically everyday in this nation parents and grandparents living alone fall victim to "ore, ore" sagi, or "it's me, it's me" fraud. In the typical modus operandi of this new breed of "intellectual" crime, or un-intellectual crime, to be more precise, a young man calls old people at random and when an oldish voice answers the phone, he says something like, "It's me, it's me. I got involved in such-and-such trouble. So I want you to help me out by remitting such-and-such amount of money very urgently to such-and-such bank account." Believe it or not, it's not so infrequent that this kindergarten trick works out here. My biological age being 68, I may sometimes sound oldish on the phone. But I would never be victimized by these callers because 1) my grown-up kids are self-reliant, 2) I can tell their voices from someone else's and most importantly 3) the gloomy future perspective of my finances wouldn't permit me to send the dough.

In the last six years I've been working for the Japan's subsidiary of a German company where I've been consistently under-exploited, under-paid and under-whatever-it-is simply because of my biological age whereas integrity (defined later in this piece), not age, is what really matters. To make a long story short, this company has recently handed me a virtual pink slip by saying it won't extend my contract beyond next March. You may have read the Sept. 10 TFP article "Why not retire at 130?" that deals with the agist bias widespread in this country. Since joining this German company I've been on a hand-to-mouth basis all the time just because of discrimination against senior employees there, and now I'm facing a destitute life ahead of me.
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