（srachai from Chulaporn Dam, Chiyaphum)
The Yomiuri Shimbun (Sep. 2, 2010)
DPJ on right course with open showdown
Prime Minister Naoto Kan and former Democratic Party of Japan Secretary General Ichiro Ozawa on Tuesday formally announced they would run in the upcoming DPJ presidential race. The race is set to be a head-to-head battle between the two.
Importantly, it will be an open battle. It is more reasonable to settle things squarely in a party race rather than behind closed doors in the name of so-called party unity. Openness must be what many people want.
Few conditions set
Prior to their separate announcements of their candidacies, Kan and Ozawa held talks and basically agreed that they would cooperate regardless of who wins the race and try to prevent the party from splitting up after the election.
The talks were held with the mediation of former Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama and several others who were concerned that a head-on battle between Kan and Ozawa would seriously divide the party.
But apparently no concessions were made over whether Ozawa would be granted a post if he were to give up running in the race, or whether anti-Ozawa figures Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshito Sengoku and DPJ Secretary General Yukio Edano would retain their posts.
During talks a day earlier with Hatoyama, Kan accepted that a so-called troika of Kan, Hatoyama and Ozawa would steer the DPJ-led administration.
But if Kan had offered Ozawa inducements to withdraw from the race, which would have allowed Kan to be reelected without a vote, he certainly would have faced criticism that such a process was no different from the old faction-based closed-door politics of the Liberal Democratic Party.
Ozawa, for his part, must not have wanted to drop out of the race because doing so would make it look as if he had backed down due to the lack of public support for him as shown in various opinion polls.
Hatoyama, who mediated between the two, bears grave responsibility.
He resigned as prime minister only a few months ago after causing confusion over a number of domestic and foreign policy issues. Such a person should have been kept well away from the center of the political stage.
To make matters worse, Hatoyama had initially expressed support for Kan to remain in the top post but later shifted his backing to Ozawa. It is strange that Hatoyama backed Ozawa, who has yet to clear up the "politics and money" suspicions swirling around him, as the former prime minister called for a "clean party" when he stepped down from the post.
We consider Hatoyama unqualified to act as go-between, as his words and actions have been full of contradictions.
A chance to air issues
If the DPJ did not hold a party presidential race, it would have lost a chance to deepen discussions on the responsibility for the party's humiliating defeat in July's House of Councillors election. The intraparty election is an opportunity to review the party manifesto for last year's House of Representatives election, an envisaged increase in the consumption tax rate and basic state policies.
During the official campaigning over the next two weeks, Kan and Ozawa must frankly speak about their visions of the nation's future and how government affairs should be handled.
As the DPJ is no longer an opposition party, the race for its presidency also is a race for the prime ministership. DPJ lawmakers as well as registered party members and supporters must take this to heart when they cast their ballots in the election.
(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Sept. 1, 2010)