He’s one of the Seven Magistrates, the up and coming (at the time) boomer/post-boomer DPJ members—the others being Yukio Edano, Koichiro Gemba, Seiji Maehara, Yoshihiko Noda, Katsuya Okada, and Yosihito Sengoku—that Kozo Watanabe, long-time ally and now noisiest critic of Ichiro Ozawa, brought together during the Koizumi administration as the future of the DPJ, that’s who. The reason that we had heard so little of him in contrast to his more illustrious cohorts may have been due to the inconvenient fact that he was out of office at the time of the Gathering…that, and the fact that he appears to be the only one among the Magnificent Seven who has not distanced himself from Ozawa, if his reported support base of second-tier and younger Ozawa followers in tomorrow’s DPK presidential election is any indication. So maybe we’ll finally learn how strong the fear-free support for Ozawa is. Or not.
In the meantime, overwhelming favorite Naoto Kan has added insult to injury in a way only he can in a press conference today (3 June) announcing his candidacy, when he said, “Since Secretary-General Ozawa invited the suspicion of the Japanese people, it is for the good of himself, the DPJ, and Japanese politics that he keep quiet for a while.” ZING!
Oh Kan. And you wondered why Kan isn’t popular with his colleagues. No matter. Ask Michael Jordan’s former teammates if winning doesn’t beat nice every time. Stay tuned. Until 11 July.