To my knowledge, not a single DPJ politician openly declared his intentions to succeed Mr. Ozawa, and both Kan Naoto and Okada Katsuya, likely candidates in a party leadership race, have urged Mr. Ozawa to stay.
Now, correct me if I’m wrong, but it seems that one characteristic that every political organization has in common is that they’re political: they are rooted in the struggle for power, no matter how much that desire is cloaked in civility. The DPJ is certainly no stranger to infighting of varying degrees of intensity. And yet when a vacuum opens up at the top, giving an ambitious politician a chance to lunge for power, not unlike Mr. Aso’s petite coup in September, there is not one who makes a bid for control of the party? Not a single politician who thinks that Mr. Ozawa’s departure can mark the beginning of a new era for the DPJ, pointing to Mr. Ozawa’s own critique of the party (discussed in this post) as a sign that change is needed?
If so, then the DPJ is weaker than I thought, in which case it is no surprise that its leaders are practically begging for Mr. Ozawa to stay.
Should Mr. Ozawa decide to remain as the party’s leader, whatever “dictatorial” control of the party he exercised in the past will likely pale in comparison to what’s to come. How could it not? The DPJ has practically admitted that it is lost without Mr. Ozawa at the helm, that only with him planning its Diet and election strategies can it contemplate winning a general election and forming a government. The party, should Mr. Ozawa remain, will be linking its fortunes to that of its leader.
Could this be a case of Stockholm Syndrome?