Monday, September 26, 2011

Very Kind of Them #4 - Judgment Day

Over at the East Asia Forum, the formidable Aurelia Mulgan George has published a warning about the appointment of close Ozawa Ichiro allies to positions of influence within the secretariat of the Democratic Party of Japan. This morning, the EAF has very kindly posted my response.

We are both right, in our own ways. The very best policy outcomes would result from a continuation former DPJ leader Kan Naoto's purging of the party of Ozawa influences whilst retaining much of the framework of new policies instigated under Ozawa's leadership. Prime Minister Noda Yoshihiko is reversing course on both, a dangerously flaccid way to rule.

Ozawa is no Putin, if we want to put a contemporary gloss on things. He has his followers in their numbers but they are B-class and C-class political talents. None of them should be considered adept enough to enact their patron's bidding with any degree of competence. As one U.S. academic pointed out to me recently, Ozawa has not groomed a successor (again, he is no Putin).

On the subject of Ozawa and his lieutenants, the verdict in the trial of member of the Diet and former Ozawa political secretary Ishikawa Tomohiro* and three two other former Ozawa secretaries will be unsealed today (ja). As the four three were formally indicted, they are all likely to be convicted on what are, on the surface, ridiculously petty crimes. Were any other politician involved except Ozawa, this would have been handled merely as an adjustment of accounts, the foursome receiving nothing worse than a scolding in the press.

The likely result of likely conviction of the four three will be a new round of Ozawa-bashing in the mainstream press. This will not affect Ozawa, as he hates the press as much as they hate him. However, the hysteria in the news will drag Ozawa further away from the levers of power, as even those who have been most dependent upon his largess and his influence will find continued direct association with him threatening to their political well-being.

* In the election for prime minister held on August 30, Ozawa Ichiro received one vote. That one vote came from Ishikawa.

No comments: