Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Japan Prime Minister Hatoyama Resignation: Who’s the Pigeon?

Yukio Hatoyama high-up following his resignation...

Everyone! Remain calm! Mr Ozawa is in charge and Kan will run as I wrote yesterday on this blog.

Update: Thursday June 3rd

May 27, the day before the announcement of the new base relocation accord, Koshiishi had been joined by only a handful of other DPJ lawmakers in pressuring Hatoyama to step down. "What are they going to do by dismissing Hatoyama? They have no strategy for afterward," an aide to Hatoyama said at the time. But the tide changed after the prime minister kicked SDP chief Mizuho Fukushima out of his Cabinet for her refusal to endorse the government's relocation policy Friday and the tiny party decided to leave his coalition Sunday in protest. Many DPJ lawmakers then began openly criticizing the party leader. According to the sources, Ozawa, who had been silent about the moves within the party, finally instructed his aides on Sunday -- "It's OK now to move to oust Hatoyama." Other testimony suggesting Ozawa's willingness to sack Hatoyama suggested the DPJ secretary general made an inquiry around that time about whether there had been any cases in which an attestation ceremony for new Cabinet members had been held at the Imperial Palace on a Sunday. It was obvious that Ozawa, who often says "a political vacuum is not permissible," was preparing for the possible launch this coming Sunday of a post-Hatoyama Cabinet, the sources said." (Sources: Kyodo news dispatch)

Well, all of it was expected since 48 hours. The biography of the ex-prime minister Hatoyama is rolling uninterrupted on the TVs' in a record timing. Everyone was quickly ready right after Prime Minister Hatoyama announced his resignation on a special TV broadcast. Under a beautiful spring sun, Tokyo seemed to have been not that much disturbed. The stock index, the Nikkei, lost just 1,12% while the Euro quoted 1 $ 22, 112 Yen 10 and the $ closed at 91 Yen.

Unaffected, after the US Japan cold on the Okinawa - Futenma US bases, and the scandals on political donations, the markets, the Japanese bureaucracy, the ordinary Japanese, expected this move.

Hatoyama resignation was not such a shock for 75% of the insular as they already gave up hopes in politics, 9 months after not quite seeing any change into their purse and plate following the historic (and hysterical) victory of the Democrats versus the Liberals. Now what is going wrong with all these prime minister who give up one after the other in Japan!!? (Abe, Aso in LDP, now Hatoyama -- 'pigeon mountain' in Japanese language-- for the DPJ)

"Et maintenant"?

The ruling Democratic Party of Japan who has a majority at both chambers of the Parliament will now choose its new leader this Friday, June 4th, and a new Cabinet is likely to be launched Monday June 7th. Contenders? As I wrote on this blog, there is his Deputy Naoto KAN, or the Transport minister Seiji Maehara, Foreign Minister Okada, Yoshito Sengoku, the national strategy minister, (not the appeal type but what Japan needs now is not a bella figura, but a man able to deliver politics to seduce the flocks), he is a socialist minded. Also on line a couple of younger such as Kazuhiro Haraguchi (who denied he would run). Haraguchi like Maehara are the free-market policies types, and he is known for calls to shift policy responsibilities away from the central government and offer more to regions. A call that could attract the local municipalities harshly slaughtered since years by successive national government policies.

The favorite Japanese Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Naoto KAN will NOT likely attend a planned meeting of Group of 20 finance ministers and central bankers in South Korea this weekend, because he will participate to the Democratic Party inner presidential elections to select the "candidate".

What is coming after, constitutionally speaking. First is the question about Ichiro Ozawa. Will he or not "let go". He certainly left his position at the DPJ as Party de facto "boss". But... he is known to favor best strategy for election, a job he occupied since 20 years when he worked at the top ladder of the LDP, and his knowledge to organize an election is fundamental. He is said to have provoked Hatoyama resignation, there is much speculation on his future role in mapping the July election. Without Ozawa, the Democratic party is in turmoil.


"A leadership election will be held Friday, and the Cabinet is likely to be organized and (a new prime minister) is likely to give an inaugural address Monday," Ozawa said during the meeting, which was held shortly after Prime Minister and DPJ President Yukio Hatoyama announced his decision to resign. The council members decided at the same meeting that the DPJ would hold a general meeting of DPJ Diet members on Friday to choose a new leader, who will succeed Hatoyama as prime minister, according to participants. Once the new leader is elected prime minister in the Diet, that person will pick others as members of the new Cabinet. The officers also confirmed that all members on the council will resign, including Ozawa, the participants said. A DPJ president is normally elected with votes from party lawmakers, party members and supporters.

But party rules stipulate that in the event of a vacancy in the post in the middle of a leader's tenure, a new president can be chosen at a general meeting at which party lawmakers will cast their votes. Such a system is preferred when the Diet is in session because the formal leadership election process takes several weeks to complete. Rules used to pick a party leader at a general meeting are devised in each such election. In the last leadership election in May last year, which was held upon Ozawa's resignation over a funds scandal, candidates who collected endorsements from 20 or more party lawmakers filed their candidacy. Hatoyama was then elected in a secret ballot among party lawmakers. A party leader's tenure is normally two years, but a leader chosen at a general meeting serves the remainder of the predecessor's term. Hatoyama's term lasts until the end of September, essentially the end of the tenure of his predecessor Ozawa. Whoever is chosen at the meeting of party lawmakers on Friday will therefore have to stand again in another leadership election by the end of September.

Ozawa Ichiro VDO

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