1) Hatoyama had planned to hit the ground running by pick the head of the National Strategy Bureau, the Finance and Foreign Ministers, and the Chief Cabinet Secretary as soon as the election was over, but quickly gave up the idea when allies SDP and PNP objected for fear of being marginalized in the policy formation process. Now, he has settled on a Chief Cabinet Secretary—close associate and reputed troubleshooter Hirofumi Hirano—as well a new Secretary-General, both decisions precipitated at the instigation of the Ozawa crowd if media reports are to be believed.The Hatoyama-Ozawa storyline is a godsend for the post-election media, and Ozawa is not exactly starving the beast. Other incidents such as Hatoyama’s flip-flop over the impromptu, burasagari-clinger interviews, where the interviewee talks to the reporters in the corridors, in transit and his notorious ”anti-globalism screed*, not to mention the looming political financing prosecution of his ex-aide, suggest that Prime Minister Hatoyama, like his most recent predecessors, will be generating his due share of distractions.
2) This slap in the face to incumbent Secretary-General Katsuya Okada undermines his authority just when he needs all the support that he can get from the party leadership in the ongoing negotiations with his SDP and PNP counterparts for a policy agreement as the prerequisite to a coalition government. From their point of view, why bother negotiation with a lame duck when the real power has shifted elsewhere—assuming that it had ever been otherwise?
3) Ozawa already held sway over much of the Diet rank-and-file through his domination of the election process from choosing and grooming candidates to managing their campaigns. As Secretary-General, he will hold the keys to the burgeoning party coffers—the DPJ’s government subsidy alone leaps from 11.832 billion yen (2009) to 17.32 billion yen (2010) while the LDP drops from 15.733 billion to 10.467 billion. Registers—as well as handle appointments to party positions. For most practical purposes, it’s his party now.
4) According to the Yomiuri,, on August 3, Ozawa arrived at party headquarters around 10:30PM to meet Hatoyama. He went into the party President’s room with a frown and came out with a smile because he had received a request—accepted—from Hatoyama to be the Secretary-General. As he is leaving the room, in full view of the press, he says to Hatoyama, “I was having dinner; so, I’m sorry I was late.” It may be nothing more than just another gauche moment for Ozawa; if this were a movie, it would be a classic “I made you, I can break you” putdown.
* I am aware that there is a much longer text on his website, and that the condensed version distorts his views. Indeed, the original is prefaced by a lengthy explanation of the democratic impulses that gave rise to the concept yūai. However, I’m not sure that explaining yūai as a response to “totalitarianism, which tried to achieve equality at all costs, and capitalism, which had fallen into self-indulgence m which according to his people,” then depicting Japan as a nation “caught between the United States, which is fighting to retain its position as the world's dominant power, and China which is seeking ways to become one” is not overly impolitic. Note also that the original text repeatedly calls the United States a hegemon (覇権国家) and China as a nation seeking to become one. That is not the language of fraternité.