A flurry of comment and analysis in the English speaking world on Ozawa today. We have two pieces of analysis here and here which have more critical takes on Ozawa’s ongoing role in Japanese politics. The narratives are perhaps a bit too familiar to add much more to recent conventional and non-conventional media discussions of Ozawa, although the article by Richard Katz does give a decent rundown of (a version at least) of the events that defined Ozawa’s early career. However another article by two former Ozawa aides, Oka Takashi and Llewelyn Hughes does this and a bit more (Find it here). It is a must read and while a very sympathetic article, it does give some concrete reasons to pause and reflect upon just how bizarre the debate over Ozawa has gotten in both the international and Japanese media. It would be remiss of me not to acknowledge that commentators such as Tobias Harris and Michael Cucek have suggested such a cautious approach to ‘reading Japanese politics’ previously. Say what you will about his politics and decisions – and indeed the authors readily acknowledge that Ozawa’s aims for Japanese political reform are indeed curiously out of line with the way he runs his organisations, but it is from time to time interesting to consider that he may well be a very flawed human being, rather than some sort of demented monster!
In my 10 minute Google search, I have failed to find a full rundown of the 28-30 Diet members purportedly in attendance at the new Masuzoe led study group. I understand that 25 will be in attendance next week at a study session which will be led by a prominent economic expert. It seems that Hatoyama Kunio dropped by the group but appears to not be terribly taken by it.
Some interesting media speculation here (Japanese) on whether it represents 政界再編 (seikai saihen – political realignment) which had been discussed in the months leading up to the election when it became completely obvious that the LDP was not going to be in office (Watanabe’s minna no tou formed during this period when he jumped the LDP ship is one expression of this desire) or another attempt to revitalise the LDP before the upcoming House of Councillors election.
Found some Youtube video – not so familiar with the rank and file, but here is a minute clip.