Go to contents

Japan`s Prime Minister, No.2 Man Resign Together

Posted June. 04, 2010 14:48,   


Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama and political mastermind Ichiro Ozawa have both resigned, and both men have apparently ruffled each other’s feathers.

“I’d already made up my mind to resign around ten days ago and persuaded Ozawa to quit with me,” Hatoyama said, but his explanation is considered half correct.

Hatoyama probably wanted to remain prime minister, and even mentioned his policies Sunday when the Social Democratic Party left the ruling coalition. He said Monday, “There’s no doubt I’ll remain prime minister” after a meeting with Ozawa, the secretary-general of the ruling Democratic Party of Japan.

After a second meeting with Ozawa Tuesday, Hatoyama gave a thumbs up when asked if he would keep his position. His behavior angered lawmakers of his party, however.

Nippon Television Network Corp. interpreted Hatoyoma’s behavior as a signal that he would remain in office. Japanese lawmakers had just watched the situation but eventually turned on him, with one saying, “He doesn’t understand how seriously the circumstances have worsened.”

Ozawa called Hatoyama late Tuesday evening and effectively gave him an ultimatum, asking, “Are you willing to accept a motion for your dismissal?” The next morning, Hatoyama finally announced his intent to resign.

Belatedly, the prime minister said he gave a thumbs up since he wanted others to know he was not discouraged, but it was too late.

Others say Hatoyama expressed his will to resign to Ozawa Tuesday. Aware he had lost Ozawa’s confidence, the prime minister asked Ozawa to quit with him.

Ozawa had secretly visited the prime minister’s official residence on the evening of May 27, the day before Social Democratic Party leader Mizuho Fukushima was dismissed over the dispute over the relocation of the U.S. Marines base in Futenma.

Ozawa tried to persuade Hatoyama, saying, “We won’t win the elections for the House of Councilors without the Social Democratic Party’s support. We’ll lose three million votes.”

Hatoyama rejected Ozawa’s suggestion, however, and this enraged Ozawa, who was trying to ensure his party’s victory in the upcoming elections. A source close to Ozawa said, “Hatoyama pushed Ozawa to the limits of his patience.”

Ozawa then began preparing for a post-Hatoyama government, and this explains why he released his plan to elect a new prime minister so fast.

In his second meeting with Ozawa Tuesday, Hatoyama realized that he could no longer stay in office and asked Ozawa to step down with him. Experts have offered different explanations for Ozawa’s resignation.

Hatoyama also told one of his ministers that it was hard to convince his wife of his decision to resign, suggesting she did not welcome his decision.