Monday, March 09, 2009

One Last Point on Ozawa Before I Go

We still don’t know where Ichiro Ozawa is going to stand for election. It’s amazing; it’s hurting DPJ chances in the single-seat electoral districts that are being kept open for Ozawa in case he decides to transfer out of Iwate Fourth District. It doesn’t help the DPJ’s chances in the proportional districts that include those single-seat districts either. So what’s going on? Two indisputable facts:
There is a strong movement within the DPJ to ban heirloom candidates from standing for election in the electoral districts of their decedents.

Ozawa has three sons.
It is also to be remembered that there was some grumbling among the locals when Junichiro Koizumi’s late, unexpected decision not to seek election left too little time for any option other than to turn to his second son for what was then expected to be an early election. Add to that the assets amassed in his political organizations estimated to be a billion yen or more, and it becomes tempting to connect the dots.

This is trivial, though, and the LDP is obviously not throwing stones here; if this is a glass house, then the LDP lives in a glass tower. Still, I’m not sure that even the tabloids are picking it up yet, so I thought I’d just take note here, for your amusement.


Anonymous said...

A review of Ozawa's history shows he was reluctant to enter parliament, and was in fact forced to by his father's koenkai. I believe he has also stated that he does not want his children to go into politics, which matches his character I think. One reason he is so hard to pin down as a caricature (barnstorming reformer? old school LDP headkicker?) is that he is not a caricature, so I'm not sure the "all politicians want their children to follow them into the family business" assumption sticks.

Jun Okumura said...

Whatever a 27 year-old graduate student was thinking regarding his future when he was deciding whether or not to go into the family business, it sheds little light on how he feels 40 years later about the business that he has built up into a national franchise as well as all its employees and assorted dependents and what he intends to do with it all.

Now a large number of politicians—and as you remind us their koenkai—do want their children to succeed them, and the stakes are high in Ozawa’s prosperous homestead. But if that were all that I had to go with, I wouldn’t be posting this, right? Ozawa’s delay in making the decision is becoming increasingly detrimental to DPJ prospects in multiple electoral districts, while making it more likely that the DPJ will have no one to turn to but one of his sons in case Ozawa decides to vacate Iwate Fourth District after all. Given the strong DPJ movement to ban heritage candidates from its ranks, the circumstantial evidence that there is more to Ozawa’s political tactics than a simple desire to give LDP-New Komeito candidates the fits grows as the time limit for the general election approaches.