The newspapers reported this morning that Ozawa Ichiro or his surrogates have asked Maehara Seiji for important party posts for himself and his allies in return for Ozawa's support in Monday's Democratic Party of Japan leadership election. The Ozawa camp reportedly has gone so far as to request that Ozawa be given the post of DPJ Secretary-General (en).
This is either an incredibly stupid move on the part of the Ozawa camp or...no, it is just an incredibly stupid move. Maehara spoke yesterday of his wish that the party would practice "baseball of the whole team" (zennin yakyu)-- by which he meant he would want all the various forces within the DPJ to work together toward common goals out of a common sense of duty. "You support me," Maehara is saying, "and I will make sure that your interests and desires will not be forgotten."
By shooting for the moon -- requesting that Ozawa become Secretary-General -- the Ozawa camp has shown it has lost all sense of where it stands as regards Maehara. By demanding places in the party leadership and the government in return for an Ozawa endorsement, Ozawa camp has managed also to get its sequencing backward. Endorsement first, then wait for the Maehara camp to propose posts commensurate with Ozawa's generous offer -- that was the sequencing the Ozawa camp should have followed.
In bargaining, and bargaining in a presumptuous fashion, the Ozawa camp has unleashed all the candidates in the race in these waning hours before the official candidacy papers must be filed to cut their own deals with Maehara's people. Finance Minister Noda Yoshihiko, former Environment Minister Ozawa Sakihito and former Minister of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism Mabuchi Sumio now have a very good reason to fail to file their papers and pledge their support for Maehara -- trusting that Maehara will not forget them when it comes time to pick a new leadership troika at party headquarters and a new cabinet.
As for Minister of Economics, Trade and Industry Kaieda Banri, he must be completely stunned at the actions of his group leader Hatoyama Yukio over the last 24 hours. Not only did representatives of Hirano Hirofumi, current holder of the title of "Worst Chief Cabinet Secretary Ever" and Hatoyama's closest confidant, show up at the meeting of the representatives of those running in party leader race, even though Hirano has stated he is not running, but Hatoyama said, in what is a stab in Kaieda's back, that he is looking for "the most suitable person, not necessarily from the people currently set to run in the election"(en).
What, at this late hour? Somebody else?
Ay Caramba. Just when you think you have plumbed the depths of his duplicity and clumsy lust for influence, you realize that his duplicity and clumsy lust for influence are bottomless.
If Hatoyama has indeed dumped Kaieda, who was only in the race because of his a) ambition and b) rank of crown prince of the Hatoyama group, then Kaieda may also be offering his candidacy up to Maehara.
[While were on the subject of Kaieda, immediately after the vote on the feed-in tariff renewable energy bill, he offered up his resignation as minister of METI -- this ostensibly in order to put some distance between himself and the Kan administration.
When the Kan administration will cease to exist in four day's time.
Gotta admit it, Kaieda marches to a different drummer.
Prime Minister Kan, noting the brief period left before he will dissolve the Cabinet, refused to accept Kaieda's resignation.]
In the meantime, the House of Councillors has passed the bond issuance bill as well as the aforementioned renewable energy bill, the bills Prime Minister Kan Naoto said must pass before he will be willing to hand the reins of power over to the next generation of leaders. At 14:00 today he will make the formal announcement to the General Council of the DPJ that he intends to resign as head of the party and prime minister.
Then the fun, or what passes as fun in these disturbed and threatening times, begins.