Not much more to say, but I thought a brief follow-up was warranted since it looks like Yukio Hatoyama may be throwing his hat in the ring after all.
The odds for Yukio Hatoyama standing for the election to succeed Ichiro Ozawa as DPJ leader are improving with every moment that he doesn’t say no. So it may be useful to look at an interesting chart on the second page of today’s morning Yomiuri. The chart gives the group-by-group numbers for the DPJ’s 221 MPs as well as the relationship between the groups. With the caveat that some MPs belong to more than one group, here’s what it says:
A. (Ichiro) Ozawa Group 50
B. (Yukio) Hatoyama Group 30
C. (Naoto) Kan Group 30
D. (Seiji) Maehara Group 30
E. Ex-Socialists 20
F. Ex-Democratic Socialists 20
G. Yoshihiko Noda Group 20
H. Independents (Okada et al) 25
They add up to 225, not many more than the 221 MPs that the DPJ actually has, and they are approximate figures. So let’s assume that they do provide an accurate picture of the relative strengths of the respective groups.
Next, the relationships:
A ♥ B&E.
B ♥ F.
A definitely does not ♥D&G.
A lukewarm C.
Now Hatoyama made a good show of supporting Ozawa. So if Ozawa was the kind of person who put a lot of stock in such personal service, he could conceivably put 50+20 votes to Hatoyama’s disposal. Hatoyama in turn would bring 30+20 votes on his own. That’s 120 votes, more than an outright majority of the DPJ MPs. But will Ozawa oblige? All he cares about is winning, and Hatoyama’s late-life association with Ozawa is a definite negative.
Neither Hatoyama with his humorless, beady-eyed carping nor Okada with his Clark-Kent looks and demeanor to match comes across as the second coming of Barack Obama. That being said, they’re definitely an upgrade on the ghostly presence of their predecessor-to-be as far as electoral campaigning is concerned, and the other wannabies (Maehara and Noda) appear to be unacceptable to the pro-Ozawa crowd. So it comes down after all to a showdown between Hatoyama and Okada, assuming Hatoyama actually stands.
No matter. The important thing, to repeat, is that the DPJ is set for a Lower House victory with a leader (whichever) who will be a far more palatable partner for a post-election LDP breakaway group that would assure an Upper House majority without bringing one or more of the mini-parties on board. This is more important than the identity of the eventual winner. And we only have to wait until Saturday at most to know.
I’ve been hitting the sauce early today after a hard day’s work, and it’s time to get to work on dinner. I promise to get back to your comments tomorrow.