Lone Crusader

“Lone crusader” Yukio Ubukata has taken on the big guns of Japan’s ruling party by speaking on the radio to denounce what he calls the “dangerous concentration of power and money”.

"Lone crusader" Yukio Ubukata has taken on the big guns of Japan’s ruling party by speaking on the radio to denounce what he calls the "dangerous concentration of power and money". The veteran member of parliament, who is also one of 15 deputy secretaries-general to the ruling Democratic Party of Japan, has often found it difficult to make his voice heard. But not this week as he took to the airwaves. The Economist reports: "He knew it was a strategy with a high risk of self-immolation. Mr Ozawa is the DPJ’s secretary-general. As the architect of its landslide election victory last August, he is widely regarded as the most powerful politician in Japan. Even Yukio Hatoyama, the prime minister, yields before him. What’s more, Mr Ubukata complains, Mr Ozawa controls all the DPJ’s funds and allocates them to his most loyal supporters. He selects which candidates the party will endorse to run for it during elections. Such influence makes it very hard for fellow party members to lend public support to any revolt against him. ‘Ozawa-san’s way of handling politics is to give money only to people who share his opinion. That is what is distorting democracy within the party. Because of that, no one can stand up to him. That is the source of his power,’ Mr Ubukata says."

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