In a timely follow up to this post, the Asahi Shimbun is reporting on a meeting (jp) of 27 1st time Lower House DPJ members at a Japanese Hotel. Facilitated by Genba Kouichirou (from around Fukushima way – my “home”), who is the Lower House Financial Affairs Committee chairman, the article mentions that the group was not set up to be an explicitly “anti-Ozawa” faction but merely wanting to explore future possibilities if there was an internal DPJ election. Of course, the two things are not necessarily mutually exclusive. The group is also quite concerned with financial matters and regional regeneration/delegation. Genba is also one of the “seven magistrates” and is close to Transport Minister Maehara Seiji, and supported Foreign Minister Okada against Hatoyama in last year’s election for DPJ leader.
Whatever this might suggest about the possibilities for a “double step-down” later on this month, it seems increasingly likely that rational self-interest, if not good policy sense, is proceeding in the fashion I expected. The “hope” of a split apart, and the imminent “self-destruction” of a party that has 300 plus LH seats (!) that we see in much Western commentary on Japan is becoming less likely.