Thursday, June 02, 2011

Ozawa Alone Knows

"'Old soldiers never die, they just fade away.’”
-- General Douglas MacArthur

"I'm an old soldier. Have you heard of General MacArthur's words, "Old soldiers just fade away"? I was thinking about just fading away, but now I feel I have a bit more work to do."

-- Ozawa Ichiro, in an interview by The Wall Street Journal last Friday.

“It’s better to burn out…than to fade away.”

-- Neil Young, “"Hey, Hey, My, My

Ozawa Ichiro did not show up at his seat in the Diet for today’s no confidence motion vote. Instead he was across the street, in his Diet member’s office, during the entire proceedings.

By not showing up, Ozawa became eligible for disciplinary action. All the other members who failed to appear or who abstained will draw a one year suspension of all party privileges. Since Ozawa was already stripped of his party privileges in an earlier disciplinary measure, the Democratic Party leadership has to choose between the next level of punishment – expulsion from the party – or just letting things slide. At the party committee meeting this evening, Secretary-General Okada Katsuya recommended expulsion. Koshiishi Azuma, the leader of the DPJ in the House of Councillors, told Okada to forget it, that too many members of party would not stand for Ozawa receiving any more punishment.

I cannot say whether Ozawa burnt out, faded away, humiliated the Liberal Democratic Party and the New Komeito, set up his erstwhile ally Hatoyama Yukio whilst aiding his erstwhile rival Kan Naoto, or is sitting pretty, hugely enjoying having drawn the news media into swallowing a completely false narrative – hook, line and sinker – one, grand last time.

No matter what, Kan Naoto should send the old soldier a nice gift. Today’s defeat of the no confidence motion marks the third time in a year that Ozawa has served as Kan’s nemesis in an intra-party struggle, with Kan coming out the big winner in each encounter.

Later - The broken links in this post have now been fixed.


Martin J Frid said...

Kan survived this, he survived before, so why does everyone hate him so much? It really irks me to see Hatoyama show up too, Sir Weather vane, still not being able to stick to one single idea for more than a day, then changing his mind again.

Hoofin said...

Shisaku, I like the fact that you stick your neck out and make some predictions, even though they don't always turn out.

You have an insight into this that not very many people have.

Anonymous said...

This blog is like a typical English bus-stop, you wait and wait and wait (for nearly 6 months), and then 12 new blogs come along at once.

Not that I'm complaining, at least I know you're still alive since the 3/11 quake. :)

Just hope there won't be another drought of posts, as I do like reading your insights into the going-ons in Japan.

Chysanthemum Sniffer said...

>why does everyone hate him so much?

Because he is a doofus who has never had an idea of his own. Calling Hatoyama a weather vane and yet giving Kan the benefit of the doubt is such delicious irony. Hatoyama took positions, particularly on things like Futenma, even if he was forced to back down. And according to certain prominent Senators in the United States he was right in the first place.

Anyway, the new arrangement is actually quite a good one. It gives Kan and his supporters time to feel like they have at least achieved something and perhaps even withdraw gracefully, and it gives the young bloods time to formulate proper platforms for their leadership bids. Japan may come out of this stronger.

Anyway, those who moan that Hatoyama and Ozawa don't deserve to have some say in the leadership struggle, it is worth remembering that Ozawa fought, and Hatoyama won, the only election in which the DPJ has truly been successful. Kan had no mandate, which didn't stop those surrounding him from going against everything the DPJ ran on and going on a witch hunt against the one man who spelled success for the party.

Okada's attack on Ozawa is, in that context, risible. You can't really expect someone who doesn't benefit from party privileges to be subject to party disciple.

Chysanthemum Sniffer said...

...or rather, subject to party rules.

YY said...

What Hatoyama is saying now with regard to the promised resignation of Kan is very much like how he handled the Futenma issue during his tenure. It has the feel of him interpreting events/situations in his own peculiar way that is not quite in sync with reality of the situation, then becoming very stubborn about his being correct. I don't know if being a party founder comes with the privilege of being allowed to be totally disconnected with reality.

rabuho said...

"Hatoyama took positions, particularly on things like Futenma, even if he was forced to back down."

Also known as the George W. Bush school of leadership.

It does no one any good to take a position and then defend said position incompetently, which is what Hatoyama did throughout his premiership.

"it is worth remembering that Ozawa fought, and Hatoyama won, the only election in which the DPJ has truly been successful."

And it is largely due to their poor leadership (and subsequent interfering with Kan's leadership) that public support for the DPJ has gone down. Do you not remember this public opinion survey, among others?

Kan is not a panacea, but you're a fool if you believe that Hatoyama or Ozawa would be any better -- or even just as good.

Chysanthemum Sniffer said...

"It does no one any good to take a position and then defend said position incompetently, which is what Hatoyama did throughout his premiership."

And how, precisely, does one defend a position competently when one is being undermined by one's own bureaucrats and pressed to set deadlines by a panicky government much more powerful than one's own? Actually, I'm not much of an enthusiast for Hatoyama's leadership skills (who is?), but the guy had his nuts pressed to the fire even before the election.

In comparison, Kan was given a fairly easy ride, and competent management of the disaster could've made him a rock star. As it is, he deserved to be removed weeks ago. As for "interfering" with his leadership, those surrounding Kan (I wouldn't call them his "supporters" because Kan is essentially an empty paper bag) took the government so far away from the mandate established in 2009 without so much as a whiff of consultation with the mainstream of the party. Did they really expect Ozawa's followers to sit on their hands? It shows naivety on their part, not not some sort of Manichean pathology that people are always willing to attach to Ozawa.

So who is the Panacea? I don't know, but I'm guessing Noda and Kano are licking their chops right now. Is Haraguchi experienced enough? He certainly has rich and powerful backers.

PaxAmericana said...

Some folks are arguing that this helped Kan, but it seems more to me that just about everyone looked useless.

More importantly, what on Earth happened? This doesn't make sense. Blackmail and threats, perhaps?

rabuho said...

Haraguchi's a fool. His abrupt about-face after promising on TV to vote for the no-confidence motion makes him look just as taken-in as Hatoyama did.

At least Matsuki and Yokokume had the balls to follow through on their bluster.

Anonymous said...

Rabuho, is there anyone you think isn't a fool?

rabuho said...

"Rabuho, is there anyone you think isn't a fool?"

In this government? Ha.