Japan from the inside out

Eda Kenji on the DPJ election

Posted by ampontan on Tuesday, September 14, 2010

IN FOUR SENTENCES on his blog, Your Party Secretary-General Eda Kenji says all that needs to be said about Kan Naoto’s victory over Ozawa Ichiro in the Democratic Party presidential election:

It’s not that Mr. Kan is (a) good (selection), but the mere candidacy of Ozawa Ichiro was an aberration that flew in the face of the common sense of the people.

The margin of victory between Kan and Ozawa shrunk in this sequence (of the voter categories): Party members and supporters, sub-national legislators, and DPJ Diet members. The difference between the two men in the number of Diet member supporters was only six MPs (out of 406 total).

This demonstrates the most serious problem with politics today. The common sense of the people fails to penetrate the closer it gets to the Diet.

Now the speculation begins about whether Mr. Ozawa will be content to fade away or to leave a party whose current leaders he detests, and whose current leaders consider him to be persona non grata.

It’s not as if Mr. Kan won because the party thinks he’s their man. He won because enough people thought Mr. Ozawa wasn’t their man, and that another prime ministerial change so soon after the last one would result in the opposition, the media, and public opinion joining to create an irresistable force pressing for a lower house election.

And speaking of lower house elections, add LDP President Tanigaki Sadakazu to the list of those who suspect there will be one soon rather than late anyway.

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3 Responses to “Eda Kenji on the DPJ election”

  1. Roual Deetlefs said


    What will happen when a new election is called ? Who will be the winners and losers ?
    R: I don’t do predictions. I think (and have thought for a long time) that they’re little more than space filler. Few people get what’s happening in the present right, and that goes triple for circumstances in Japan.

    – A.

  2. Roual Deetlefs said


    Read this link …

  3. Left Flank said

    Is there a structural reason, e.g. the U.S. has the electoral college, why the popular voice should shrink so much as it approaches the party factions? Or, is this merely a function of precedent? Media influence?
    LF: It’s a Westminster system in which, as in Great Britain, the party controls who gets to run in which district to begin with, there are parachute candidates, and of course the party controls a lot of the money. Add to that the Japanese sense of obligation. Ozawa was secretary-general of the party during last year’s lower house election, and for most of the period before this year’s election, and was in charge of the election campaigns and the money. He’s responsible for a lot of those people having Diet seats to begin with, because he taught them how to be candidates and run campaigns, campaigned for them himself (both at the retail level and with local political/interest groups) and funneled a lot of money their way. He has a lot to spend on his own; his political fund management committee *owns* several condominiums worth a few million dollars apiece.

    The media is anti-Ozawa, so that doesn’t work in his favor. There is a complaint coming out of the Ozawa camp that the results of the votes from the party members and supporters (supporter being a step down from member, and which costs 2,000 yen to become) were leaked to the Diet members before they voted, which supposedly influenced a few of them.

    Also, most of Ozawa’s problems with the public have to do with political financing problems. Those problems concern Diet members only to the extent it influences public opinion. Politicians everywhere like money.

    The lack of forward movement in any direction at the national level due to the inability of the DPJ to get much of anything done, and their backtracking on promises, generates a bit of “strong man on a horse” sentiment working in his favor, but that’s mostly in the political class.

    – A.

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