Not surprisingly, no candidate has stepped forward to challenge Ozawa Ichiro in his bid for a third time. Mr. Ozawa has announced that he will not be thinking about the party election until after next week’s Obon holiday.
One by one, potential challengers have stepped forward only to back down in the face of overwhelming odds.
In late July, Okada Katsuya, the great, white hope of the anti-Ozawa groups, dropped hints that he was thinking strongly about a bid to return to the helm of the DPJ. He acted quickly, however, to snuff out any talk of his candidacy, declaring he had no great desire to run. Mr. Okada spells out his reasoning in a post at his blog, noting that while he doesn’t want to run, he does want a discussion on the party’s manifesto for the next general election, which he thinks must be more specific to strengthen the party’s position in the general election campaign.
Edano Yukio, a member of the Maehara group, and Noda Yoshihiko, head of a small conservative DPJ faction close to the Maehara group, have stated their desire to oppose Mr. Ozawa in September, but neither man has made his candidacy offical. Both have said that they’ll decide later this month; Asahi says that the Maehara group and its satellite prefer Mr. Okada or Mr. Noda to Mr. Edano or Sengoku Yoshito, who hinted at a run for the leadership earlier this summer.
Given that the campaign is shaping up to be the Maehara-Noda bloc versus the rest of the party, Mr. Ozawa can surely rest easy and act magnanimously towards his rivals.