Episode 407 – The Contenders, Part 2

This week, the DPJ’s good fortune–in the form of the hilariously politically inept Prime Minister Mori Yoshihiro–turns to disaster, as he is replaced by the charismatic Koizumi Junichiro. Facing a revived LDP, the DPJ will turn to one of the most singular (and divisive) figures in modern Japanese politics: Ozawa Ichiro.


Funabayashi, Yoichi, and Koichi Nakano, eds. The Democratic Party of Japan in Power: Challenges and Failures. Translated by Kate Dunlop.

Carlson, Matthew M and Steven R. Reed. Political Corruption and Scandals in Japan.

This fascinating bit of NY Times coverage of the 2000 general election. I find the quotes from the voters at the end particularly prescient in terms of describing the pre-Koizumi reality of Japanese politics.


Mori Yoshihiro circa 2000, when he was in the PM’s office.
A photo from the AFP, from one month before Ozawa Ichiro won the DPJ leadership election in May 2006. The DPJ leadership (from left: Kan, Hatoyama, Ozawa) together at a cherry blossom viewing party in Tokyo.
This map is a great example of how bad a buttwhooping the 2005 election was for the DPJ. These are the single-member district results from Tokyo, traditionally a bastion of anti-LDP reformist voting. Red indicates an LDP held seat; these results are an absolute route for the DPJ in what should be one of their stronghold. Kan Naoto was the only Tokyo-based rep to hang on to his seat in 2005.
Ozawa Ichiro, circa July, 2000 (back when he was still the leader of a separate, smaller Liberal Party).