Japan political strongman cleared after long trial
TOKYO (AFP) - Japan's onetime political kingmaker Ichiro Ozawa was cleared on Monday of misreporting political funds, ending a drawn-out legal battle for one of the country's more colourful politicians.
The appeal court upheld an earlier ruling that Ozawa had done nothing wrong when he failed initially to report 400 million yen (S$6.1 million) that he had loaned to the funding body supporting his political machine.
Ozawa was once one of Japan's most powerful politicians, earning the moniker "Shadow Shogun" for behind-the-scenes manoeuvring that shaped large parts of the parliamentary landscape.
A former player in the long-ruling Liberal Democratic Party, he is credited with engineering the 2009 general election victory of the now-governing Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ), which he once led.