Maehara will not run

In case there were any doubts about Ozawa Ichiro’s reelection chances as head of the DPJ, Maehara Seiji has announced that despite his problems with Ozawa Ichiro’s leadership, he will not run against Mr. Ozawa in the September leadership election.

Speaking at Japan’s national press club Wednesday, Mr. Maehara reiterated his desire to see a new debate on the party’s election manifesto, but said he would not be running against Mr. Ozawa.

Mr. Ozawa, however, rejected suggestions that the party should revisit the manifesto upon which it won the upper house in 2007: “Just one year ago we debated and drafted a manifesto. For a general election in the fall, how would we explain the differences from last year?”

The marginal benefits of reopening a debate on the manifesto in order to clarify some issues are probably outweighed by the costs of airing the party’s dirty laundry any further. And if Mr. Maehara and the other discontents are unwilling to stand for the party leadership and use the campaign to advance their ideas, why should the party overextend itself to accommodate their concerns?

I noted yesterday that Mr. Ozawa should be magnanimous to his rivals, but his magnanimity should not be boundless.

Too significant a revision would only exacerbate intra-party tensions and make the DPJ’s beliefs even less clear to the public. But some revision, especially in terms of providing a more detailed account of the party’s governing priorities and a map to how it intends to proceed upon taking office would be helpful.

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