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.
Japanese research whaling vessels have returned to a port in Yamaguchi Prefecture, western Japan, after completing a survey expedition in the Antarctic Ocean. The expedition was unusual in that it did not involve catching any whales. (NHK)
With the arrival of the cherry blossom season, the Tokyo metropolitan government has taken steps to manage the influx of revelers expected at Ueno Park in Taito Ward, where a hanami festival is being held. (The Japan News)
A teen model smiles sweetly at the camera. Deftly using her hands, she produces a considerable volume of white, goopy liquid. Then she turns to the camera and asks, innocently, "It all came out?" (rocketnews24.com)
Lee Dong Cheol, 61, and an employee of his trading firm were arrested by the Kyoto, Kanagawa, Shimane and Yamaguchi prefectural police departments on Thursday for allegedly importing North Korean matsutake mushrooms under the pretense that they were Chinese ones. (The Japan News)
Police reported a record-high 28,923 minors aged below 18 to child welfare authorities as suspected victims of child abuse in 2014, up 33.9 percent from a year earlier, the National Police Agency said Thursday. (Kyodo)