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.
The Supreme Court dismissed Thursday a lower court ruling that nullified suspensions and other disciplinary action against two male members of a company in Osaka due to sexual harassment in the workplace. (The Japan News)
Luxury marque Montblanc is to sell fountain pens made from a "miracle pine" tree that survived the 2011 tsunami, for a hefty $4,400, an official said, with just 20 percent of takings donated to local people. (AFP)
The mobile phone records of a 13-year-old boy who was found fatally stabbed last week along the Tama River in Kawasaki show the Line messaging app was used to contact a former schoolmate just around the time he was killed, it was learned Thursday. (Japan Times)
Being the unofficial patron saint of "natto" has proven to be sticky for Nebaaru-kun. The private-sector mascot for Ibaraki Prefecture was largely unknown until its appearance on TV last year, generating a buzz on the Internet with its eerie movements and high-pitched voice. (Asahi)