In the vote for or against the nomination of Watanabe Hiroshi to become the Vice Governor of the Bank of Japan, the Democratic Party of Japan had three of its members defy the party by giving "yes" votes to the nomination:
Watanabe Hiroshi, a former Minister of Posts and Telecommunications (fat chance of him being a reformer)
Ōe Yasuhiro, a previously recognized traitor and
Fujiwara Masashi, a former Kansai Electric executive
all of whom are at-large proportional seat councillors--and thus players with constitutional fire.
Watanabe and Ōe are lost causes, incapable of of displaying respect for party discipline. They should have been canned by DPJ leader Ozawa Ichirō long ago. That they are troublemakers Ozawa himself brought into the party--both are former members of Ozawa's Liberal Party--makes their continued presence a black mark on Ozawa's leadership ledger.
A further two DPJ members abstained and three absented themselves (one of the absentees is actually a member of the DPJ-allied Shinryokufūkai) from the vote.
The various rebellious actions required DPJ floor managers to be a little more active than usual, as the DPJ leadership's margin of victory in the "Nay" vote narrowed to only 6 votes. In the case of the Mutō Toshirō rejection, the margin had been 23 votes; in the Tanami Kōji vote the margin had shrunk to just 13 votes.
DPJ Party Secretary General Hatoyama Yukio shrugged off the desertions as "One of those things that are bad but cannot be helped."
In a sense he is right--the defections by Watanabe, Ōe and Fujiwara in the end signified nothing. Indeed, the defections could be seen as an ruse, a means of giving the ruling LDP/Komeitō coalition a false hope that they are only a few votes short of winning back control of the House of Councillors--when in fact, they are a few votes short of winning back control of the House of Councillors.
Then again, Hatoyama may not be the person to be asking about his extra-party activities, especially today--as today marks the opening of the Hatoyama Juku, the school for aspiring politicians Yukio has co-founded with his brother, LDP member and Minister of Justice Hatoyama Kunio.
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