“I will return,” says Bo Xilai to his Japanese friendPosted: May 13, 2012
Japan’s Yukan Fuji’s exclusive report: Mr. Udagawa’s exclusive interview with Bo Xilai under house arrest
Core information: Mr. Udagawa is a Japanese reporter who is the first to successfully contact Bo since Bo was placed under house arrest. According to him, he exploited the State Security Department’s request for his assistance in the investigation to gain the opportunity to conduct the interview. When he had lunch with Bo, Bo mentioned Ichiro Ozawa who got the verdict of not guilty, and said that like Ozawa “he will return”.
The report was contributed by Mr. Udagawa and published on May 11, 2012.
At the end of last month, Mr. Udagawa of Diet of Japan News Agency met former Chongqing Party secretary Bo Xilai, who was regarded as a candidate for the next group of top leaders of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) but fell into disgrace last March. Mr. Udagawa is the first Japanese reporter who has successfully contacted Bo since Bo was placed under house arrest. Mr. Udagawa became acquainted with Bo when Bo was Dalian mayor as he was previously employed by MYCAL supermarket group to be in charge of its legal affairs when MYCAL was entering the Chinese market. He said that under the surveillance of China’s intelligence agency the Bureau of State Security, he had a lunch meeting with Bo for 3 hours and inquired into a series of scandals about Bo.
“Bo Xilai looked a little tired, but was mild and calm. He denied that it was the internal power struggle in the Communist Party. The day of lunch meeting happened to be the day when Ichiro Ozawa got the verdict of not guilty. Bo Xilai said, ‘I will also recover (like Ozawa).’”
Udagawa said so. The lunch meeting was held at “Beijing Hotel” a high-class hotel near Tiananmen.
Besides the reason for Bo Xilai’s dismissal that his wife Gu Kailai was suspected of murdering British businessman Neil Heywood, there were wide spread allegations about internal power struggle in the Party and coup d’état and even the serious scandal that his relatives were subjected to investigation for the sources of their property.
Udagawa became acquainted with Bo in 1997 when MYCAL was making preparations for the opening of its Dalian branch. Bo was Dalian mayor at that time. At the end of that year, MYCAL signed a consultancy agreement with Gu Kailai in her capacity as a lawyer. The two families have had contacts since then.
In 2000, a crisis emerged in the marriage between Bo Xilai and Gu Kailai. Udagawa conducted mediation for that as a foreign mediator.
In March this year, in order to investigate Bo’s family relations, China’s Bureau of State Security asked Udagawa for assistance. Udagawa asked for an interview with Bo in return. Finally, the Chinese side allowed him to have a lunch meeting with Bo, but did not allow him to take photograph or audio record.
In an exclusive room on the third floor of Beijing Hotel, Udagawa, Bo and two interpreters (including one from the Bureau of State Security) sat together to enjoy food including a duck dipped in salt water, shark’s fin, Beijing roasted duck, fried abalone, etc. while two uniformed police officers were responsible for guarding and security outside the door.
Udagawa said, “We talked with great interest about some old topics when we just began to talk. In the middle of their conversation, Bo began to say something bad about Gu the suspect. Bo has been separated from Gu for over a decade though they have not divorced because of “their child and for fear of affecting Bo’s political career’.
“Bo did not deny that his wife had killed somebody. He said with regret, ‘it would have been better if I had divorced her at that time.’”
In Japan, there have been various reports and information about Bo’s falling into disgrace. Udagawa certainly inquired into the truthfulness of such reports and information. Bo gave the following reply:
“It is not internal power struggle in the Party. When I was Chongqing Party secretary, I carried out a thorough campaign against organized crime and removed some cadres in the city who had contacts with criminal gangs; therefore, they harbor hatred against me. The remnant members of them took advantage of my separated wife’s problem to make me suffer. I was set up by them.”
When he stayed in Beijing, Udagawa met other CCP cadres and sought an explanation about Bo incident.
According to him, the cadre said, “if Yoshihiko Noda’s wife had killed an Englishman and his trusted follower had fled into American Consulate, could he have remained on his current post as the prime minister? Power struggle… Such report has no credibility at all.
Near the end of the lunch meeting with Bo, a note came from the reception desk of the hotel on the result of Ozawa’s verdict.
Bo did not know much about Ozawa, but had sympathy for him as Bo was then in similar conditions. “In Japan, he may stage a comeback…” It was said that there was trace of satisfaction in his face. As soon as the lunch meeting finished, he said “I will return.” (I will come back. Translator’s note: As there is the transliteration of what Bo said in the Japanese original, it seems that Bo said that in English at that time.) Then he went out of the room.