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Ozawa Emerges as Japanese Politic’s `Power Hitter`

Posted January. 01, 2010 08:38,   


Japanese political heavyweight Ichiro Ozawa, who is chief secretary of the ruling Democratic Party of Japan, is considered the true winner in Japanese politics last year.

He played the leading role in helping the party achieve a landslide victory in the general elections. Though he failed to become prime minister, Ozawa still holds huge influence over Japanese politics and faces no visible opposition since he is not his country`s leader.

In other words, he has never done better in his political career.

He took the lead in forming the party’s budget, including funds of 17.3 billion yen (18.7 million U.S. dollars) after revising the 2010 budget bill prepared by the government. Though the party`s leader is Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama, Ozawa is in charge of funds.

The Japanese ruling party will set a budget focusing on the July elections this year for the Japanese Diet`s upper house. Though certain party members disagree with the plan, they cannot object since Ozawa orchestrated election victories in 2007 and last year. If they fall out of favor with him, they will face disadvantages in fund allocation, personnel and policies.

Stabilizing and running a coalition government are also among his duties. Ozawa has close ties with Social Democratic Party leader Mizuho Fukushima and People`s New Party leader Shizuka Kamei. The two opposition leaders turn to Ozawa, not Hatoyama, when they have complaints against and favors to ask from the ruling coalition government.

Social Democratic Party Secretary-General Yasumasa Shigeno recently held several meetings with Ozawa and told him, “The prime minister`s ability is being questioned,” to which Ozawa reportedly agreed, according to the Japanese daily Asahi Shimbun.