It is not absotively posilutely a given that Prime Minister Asō Tarō will be able to delay the holding of a House of Representatives election until next year.
The New Kōmeitō, the Liberal Democratic Party's partner in the ruling coalition, really, really, really wants to get the House of Representatives election over and done with by the end of this year. It wants to concentrate on pounding the pavement in support of its candidates in the April municipal elections.
Open warfare is also likely to break out between the ruling-coalition controlled House of Representatives and the opposition-coalition controlled House of Councillors. The LDP sort of promised to hold an early election in return for the Democratic Party of Japan's cooperation on legislation and appointments -- cooperation that was seen in the recent smooth votes on the candidacy of Yamaguchi Hirohide for Deputy Governor of the Bank of Japan.
The LDP's reneging on its sort of promise has already led to a breakdown in Diet comity.
Should Francisco and the LDP find a way to overcome these two decidedly not small roadblocks to their planning, the next House of Representatives election could be put off until September 2009. Granted, a few months of not-entirely-humiliating governance by thePM and his Cabinet will likely do little to convince the public that it should forget the LDP's fifty years of semi-tyrannical misrule and malfeasance--especially with the country several months into a once-in-a-lifetime (and Japanese citizens tend to live a long, long time) economic slowdown.
However, with the LDP staring defeat in the face, why not delay the election?
Which brings up the question of Ozawa Ichirō's mortality.
I know I am probably I am reading too much into posture, facial features and skin tone...but dang it sure looks as though he is getting through each day on willpower alone. I have not seen a shot of him flashing his wide, black bass grin in an age. What I have seen at the press conferences from DPJ headquarters is an old man, his hair artificially dark, sitting upright in his chair, dispensing insults from behind a mask of incongruous imbecility.
His "colds" requiring hospitalization are growing more frequently and his absences more prolonged--or at least that is the impression.
If the election is indeed put off until September next year, will Ozawa be around to contest it? His lifelong quest has been to overturn and smash the LDP. Is he destined to get the hook just at the moment his dream is about to become a reality?
Later - A noted scholar of Japanese politics and history has very gently pointed out to me the absurdity of asserting that the overturning and smashing of the LDP has been Ozawa's lifelong quest. Prior to 1993, Ozawa was a made man of the Tanaka Faction.
How does "half-a-lifelong quest" grab you?
Even later - Sorry about the readability of the original post. Syntactical errors abounded.