Japanese powerbroker Ichiro Ozawa has been charged with political funding violations, setting the stage for a high-profile trial and heightening already serious strains within the ruling Democratic party.
The indictment of Mr Ozawa threatens the political survival of the internationally famous backroom operator and electoral strategist widely considered the architect of the DPJ's historic 2009 victory over Japan's long-ruling Liberal Democratic party,
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However, Mr Ozawa greeted the charges with defiance, insisting that he had done nothing wrong and that the legal process would eventually clear him of accusations that he was involved in misreporting financial transactions connected to a controversial land deal by his fundraising body.