TOKYO, Jan. 16 (Xinhua) -- Secretary General of the governing Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) Ichiro Ozawa said on Saturday that despite the arrests of three of his aides over their involvement in an undeclared purchase of land for the politician, he will continue in his post.
Since Friday, lawmaker Tomohiro Ishikawa, and two aides of Ozawa's, Takanori Okubo and Miutsutomo Ikeda have been arrested over their roles in an undeclared purchase of land in Tokyo's Setagaya Ward worth some 400 million yen (4.4 million dollars).
"I do not know if (prosecutors) did it deliberately," said Ozawa. "But the arrests took place at the same time as our party's convention, and I cannot accept the use of such methods by the authorities."
Later, at a news conference after the annual meeting of the DPJ, Ozawa said "I have no intention of resigning after been put through this.
"I intend to continue to fulfill all my duties and will make the utmost effort to confront such a use of power."
Ozawa also insisted that all the money used for the purchase of the Setagaya land was legitimate and claimed that he had fully explained this to authorities. The politician has refused to meet prosecutors for voluntary questioning over the land purchase.
The 67-year-old politician is thought to have been behind the landslide victory the DPJ took in summer election last year, and many in the nation believe he holds the real power within his party.
Commenting on the Ozawa, Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama said, "Secretary General Ozawa told me that he had no intention of resigning, and I said that I trusted him and would like to see him continue in his current role." He added, however, that he considers the affair to have been "extremely regrettable."
The scandal has overshadowed the annual DPJ convention and will be a cause for concern for the DPJ with an upper house election scheduled to take place later this year.
Ozawa has hinted that he may ask Acting Secretary General AzumaKoshiishi to take over some of his tasks as he prepares to try to tackle prosecutors' allegations in the coming months.