The pollsters may ask selected voters over the weekend about whether or not they support it. The news media may report about its gatherings, or use its name as a shorthand for the government.
However, after yesterday's Cabinet meeting, the term "Hatoyama Cabinet" ceased to have anything but a technical meaning. The fight, short as it was, over Kamei Shizuka's draft of a law revising the Post Office privatization act, has broken it. You could tell by the body language. When a usually taciturn-to-the-point-of-morose figure like Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirano Hirofumi is laughing and gesticulating like an albatross on nitrous oxide trying to take flight, you can be sure the event has hit the skids.
So deep was the wound in the collegiality of the cabinet inflicted by the Prime Minister by his forcing the acceptance of the Kamei draft that participants afterward did not even camouflage their jostling for position at a run for the prime ministership. Nakedly ambitious Internal Affairs and Telecommunications Minister Haraguchi Kazuhiro -- a supporter of embattled Democratic Party of Japan Secretary-General Ozawa Ichiro -- told reporters that what the PM had forced the Cabinet to approve was "the Kamei-Haraguchi bill." National Strategy Minister Sengoku Yoshito, the acknowledged leader of the anti-Ozawa wing of the DPJ and a fierce opponent of Kamei draft, explained his acquiescence to the bill in a calculatingly petulant verbal stiletto to the ribs of Hatoyama:
"Well, it's because I am in the Cabinet, isn't it?" ("Datte, naikaku ni irun da mon.")
Today Prime Minister Hatoyama will face off against Liberal Democratic Party President Tanigaki Sadakazu in Party Leader Question Time. A sad, bizarre, infuriating performance it will be: neither is the leader of anything.
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