Japan's "shadow shogun" is trying to reinvent himself once again, this time as the people's last line of defense against Abenomics.
In a political advert for the upper house election later this month, the latest incarnation of Ichiro Ozawa dons a goalkeeper's shirt and gloves as he literally kicks off his campaign with fire in his eyes and a laser-intense look of resolve.
The eye-catching TV ad, titled "Fiery Saves by 'Captain Ichiro Ozawa,'" shows the 71-year-old saving the nation from employment uncertainty, a trans-Pacific trade deal and an increase in the sales tax.
Shooting at him from the prime position of the penalty spot is a dark-uniformed striker wearing a No. 96 shirt-a likely reference to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's desire to revise Article 96 of Japan's pacifist constitution. Mr. Abe is aiming to lower the parliamentary majority needed for revising the basic law, another objective opposed by Mr. Ozawa.
Indeed, viewers could be forgiven for thinking the policy agenda of the People's Life Party is largely negative in formation, since "Captain Ozawa" is essentially appealing to the public that he will just block the policy goals of the current administration.
Still, Mr. Ozawa's campaign ad is certainly a lot more fun than a much more conservative offering by Mr. Abe, in which he can be seen from behind confidently marching onward and upward as he seeks to reestablish Japan.
Japan on Monday began its annual "Cool Biz" campaign, which encourages workers to dress more casually to help reduce energy use, with government offices allowing polo shirts, Hawaiian-style aloha shirts and similar attire. (Japan Times)
The search on the ground for the last missing person in the series of powerful earthquakes that hit Kumamoto Prefecture recently was terminated on Sunday due to persistent fears of secondary disasters. (Jiji Press)
Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida conveyed Tokyo's concerns over the situations in the East China Sea and the South China Sea to his Chinese counterpart, Wang Yi, during their meeting in Beijing on Saturday. (Jiji Press)
In the latest development in the gambling scandal involving Yomiuri Giants players, the Metropolitan Police Department on Friday arrested restaurateur Satoshi Saito, 38, on suspicion of running gambling operations for the purpose of gain and former Giants pitcher Shoki Kasahara, 25, on suspicion of assisting the operations. (the-japan-news.com)
The Osaka District Public Prosecutor's Office has filed charges of drug trafficking against a 40-year-old woman who left a large quantity of illegal drugs inside a fast-food outlet, reports the Asahi Shimbun (April 30). (Tokyo Reporter)
An increasing number of people are using the "furusato nozei" hometown donation program to support Kumamoto Prefecture, southwestern Japan, which has been hit hard by a recent series of strong earthquakes. (Jiji Press)
A 28-year-old nursery school teacher who forced a 4-year-old boy to eat fried chicken covered with wasabi and recorded it on her smartphone, has received a suspended sentence from the Tokyo District Court. (Japan Today)