An internal conflict within Japan’s ruling party has reportedly intensified, raising uncertainties about the party’s future and fueling concerns that Japan’s already beleaguered political scene could experience greater turmoil in the coming weeks, The Wall Street Journal says. The newspaper says tension within the Democratic Party of Japan has risen after a party elder linked to a campaign fund-related scandal refused to appear before an ethics panel in the Diet, Japan’s parliament. Ichiro Ozawa’s refusal reinforces the image of Japan’s leaders as weak during challenges, WSJ notes. Japanese media report that Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan will be meeting Ozawa to attempt to persuade him to appear before the ethics panel. WSJ adds that some analysts and lawmakers are speculating that Ozawa may leave DPJ before the year ends, taking several loyalists with him.