A thorny question

Does anyone else find it strange that the reaction of nearly all the DPJ’s leaders to Ozawa Ichiro’s decision to resign as head of the party was to beg Mr. Ozawa to stay?

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?

4 thoughts on “A thorny question

  1. Maehara came out and said that they should reboot with with someone else at the top, but quickly fell in line. My thumb says they were afraid that the camel would take its train and leave the tent. That, and a lack of alpha-dogness on the part of the whole bunch. Actually, it\’s anyone\’s guess.Another thing that\’s striking is the apparent gap between the local rank-and-file and the top leadership on this. I think that it will bear watching as the next general election rolls around.


  2. With no one eager to slip into Ozawa\’s spot, I\’m surprised he didn\’t pick up on this and take steps to groom a successor to ensure at least some stable leadership when he decides to pack it in. It is pretty baffling that no one is leaping at the opportunity to grab the DPJ\’s reigns.


  3. Anonymous

    Noone said it was going to be easy for the DPJ in its endeavor to overtake the LDP as the leading party or even just establish itself as a viable political party. If anyone has hinted or made any suggestions to the contrary they should be regarded as crackpots with little knowledge of the realities facing the DPJ and Japanese politics. As the Ozawa era comes to an end, it should be clear that even tough seasoned politicians can make monumental misjudgments about the fast moving changes in the world.


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