My metaphors of the month: The “gravity well (for the Yoshida Doctrine)”, and the “domino tiles (for the Ubukata-to-Ozawa sequence).”
I was asked a question related to the second one, namely: When and how likely is it that Yukio Hatoyama will resign—before the July election, or after? My answer was-is: Before the election in late May or early July if, as is highly likely, it becomes clear that the Futenma helicopters revert to their fifteen-year, in situ, default position while the US military embarks on the multiyear redeployment of 8,000 Marines and their dependents to Guam before the Japanese Government has second thoughts about its multibillion dollar send-off. This is guaranteed to leave everyone, including locals whose livelihoods depend on business from the Marines, unhappy. More important to the DPJ, this will create negative headlines and talk show rakings that will push poll numbers down. Hatoyama goes down for squandering political capital on a useless endeavor, taking Ozawa with him by assuming responsibility for his own political financing scandal. There’s a good chance that the better part of this scenario will come to pass, but can Hatoyama take a hint? Nothing that we’ve seen so far suggests that he can, or, on a not unrelated point, that he’s feeling any pressure. Does “blithely nervous” make sense?
After the election, though, the odds of his going any time soon becomes worse since, in my view, the DPJ won’t lose enough seats to make media demands for his resignation so strong that the DPJ can no longer resist.