A pair of random questions and fragmentary answers.
Why is Kan Naoto the prohibitive favorite to replace Hatoyama?
Kan is the only senior member of the Democratic Party of Japan seen as being on a par with Ozawa Ichiro and Hatoyama Yukio. Kan and Hatoyama founded the party in 1996 and ran it for a time as co-leaders. He succeeded Hatoyama as sole party leader in 2002, serving in the post until May 2004. Following the inception of the wreckage of Ozawa Ichiro's Liberal Party in 2003, Kan, Hatoyama and Ozawa were seen as the "troika" running the party jointly. After stepping down from the position of party leader due to a very minor issue, a gap of a few months in his record of contributing to the national pension scheme, Kan has kept a much lower profile than his fellow troika members.
His recent relative detachment from the grubbier corners of the world of politics is all to his advantage now as the party and the country search for political smarts and party authority unblemished by a strong association with either the helpless Hatoyama and the fearsome Ozawa.
Will Hatoyama's and Ozawa's resignations help the DPJ in the House of Councillors election?
A definite yes. From the responses given to pollsters, it is clear that the populace is disappointed by Hatoyama and mistrusful of Ozawa. Disappointment in the Cabinet and the party since the inauguration of the Hatoyama government should have resulted in great slices of the citizenry rushing back to familiar embraces of the Liberal Democratic Party. However the opinion polls show the sections populace as either tentatively supporting the completely unknown default reformist Your Party or opting out of supporting any particular party at all.
With the problematic Hatoyama and Ozawa no longer in charge of the government and the DPJ, the 50% of voters who consider themselvers to be non-aligned should return to their voting stance of 2009: willing to entrust the reins of government to a new, non-LDP political force.