1. The lead-up to the eventual non-election exposed yet again the deep chasm between the old-school, center-left coalition mainstream and the new-school, fiscal/national-security conservative opposition. But what we saw will be nothing compared to the fight that will break out if the DPJ is unable to form a government after the Lower House election, leading to Mr. Ozawa’s resignation. In that case, the ability to regroup around a compromise figure—generational and ideological tweener and ex-leader Katsuya Okada, who has been careful to qualify his support for Mr. Ozawa?—will be crucial to its survival. And victory is still far from a sure thing, since Komeito is unlikely to desert the LDP.
2. In setting the legislative schedule, the LDP has been relatively accommodating with regard to the twists and turns that the DPJ has been going through. This did not begin with the upcoming session either. In the wake of the devastating rebuke at the hands of the electorate in the 2007 Upper House election, the LDP has sought to project a conciliatory profile for public consumption. Mr. Ozawa has exploited this to the DPJ’s advantage, wrong-footing the LDP on several occasions including most famously the temporary expiration of the gasoline tax surcharge at the end of FY2007. One side effect of his idiosyncratic, highly-centralized form of decision making is that is that Kenji Yamaoka, Ozawa confidante in charge of Diet affairs for the DPJ—think, House Whip—has often been caught in the lurch, most recently in his failure to anticipate and transmit Mr. Ozawa’s wishes to have the crucial opening weeks of the Diet session avoid overlapping with the now all-but-aborted aborted DPJ election. There’s nothing wrong with this for the DPJ’s electoral fortunes as long as Mr. Ozawa has the majority of both the public and the DPJ Diet members behind him. But
3. All that aside, I am impressed by the powerful full-court press that the DPJ leadership has put on Mr. Ozawa’s