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's Supreme Court has upheld the petition of a female-to-male transgender man to be recorded on the official family registry as the father of a boy born to his wife after the use of semen from a donor, it was learned on Wednesday. (Jiji Press )
Japan is likely to achieve its goal of drawing 10 million foreign travellers in 2013 as government data showed Wednesday that the number of foreign visitors to Japan totalled about 9.5 million between January and November. (Bangkok Post )
Japan will set up a new amphibious military unit and deploy unarmed surveillance drones in its southwest, where it faces a row with China over disputed islands, according to drafts of the nation's latest defence plans seen on Wednesday. (Reuters )
The number of shoplifting cases accounted for nearly 10 pct of all criminal offenses recognized by Japanese police, with the rate increasing, a National Police Agency survey showed Wednesday. (Jiji Press )
A 43-year-old woman and other six boys and girls aged 14 to 18 years have been arrested by police in the western Japanese prefecture of Hyogo in connection with the abuse of a 15-year-old junior high school student, local press reported on Tuesday. (Global Times )