12 March 2011

The Politics of Ruling Instead of Opposing

The following events illustrate the difficulties faced by Democratic Party of Japan after assuming power.  It ousted Liberal Democratic Party out of almost unbroken power since 1955

30 Aug 2009  Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) won Japan's general election by landslide victory, securing 308 seats in the 480-seat Diet.  Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) won only 119 seats and its smaller ally New Komeito won 21 seats.

16 Sep 2009  Mr Yukio Hatoyama was elected Prime Minister.  Analysts believed that his coalition faced challenges coordinating its policies with those of the two minor parties, which held different positions on foreign and national security issues.

Dec 2009  Prime Minister Hatoyama was accused of not properly reporting funds received as donations, primarily from his mother.  Prosecutors decided that there was insufficient evidence to pursue criminal charges.

6 Jan 2010  Finance Minister Hirohisa Fujii resigned, citing poor health.

9 Mar 2010  Land Minister Seiji Maehara suggested that scandal-tainted DPJ Secretary-General Ichiro Ozawa should consider stepping down from the post in light of the party’s need to fulfill its mission.

28 May 2010  Consumer Affairs Minister Mizuho Fukushima was sacked for refusing to sign, as leader of Social Democratic Party, a Cabinet resolution on relocating Futenma air base off Okinawa.

30 May 2010  Social Democratic Party voted to leave the ruling coalition because it opposed Prime Minister Hatoyama's decision not to move the Futenma air base off Okinawa.

2 Jun 2010  Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama resigned to take responsibility for breaking an election pledge to move Futenma air base off Okinawa.

4 Jun 2010  Mr Naoto Kan succeeded Mr Hatoyama as Prime Minister.

11 Jun 2010  Financial Services Minister Shizuka Kamei, chief of People's New Party, resigned to protest DPJ's failure to fulfil an accord between the two coalition parties on a postal reform bill.

11 Jul 2010  In elections for 121 seats of the 242 seat House of Councillors (Sangiin), DPJ lost eight seats, instead of gaining two that it had hoped.  It won 44 seats, fewer than the 52 won by LDP and its allies.

26 Aug 2010  Mr Ichiro Ozawa, considered to be a power broker in DPJ, said that he planned to run against Mr Naoto Kan for the presidency of DPJ, a position that would ensure his appointment as prime minister.  Mr Ozawa, who is credited with DPJ's rise to power in 2009, has been increasingly critical of Mr Kan since the party lost ground in the July 2010 elections.

14 Sep 2010  Members of DPJ elected to retain Mr Kan as its president by a margin of 721 points to 491.

17 Sep 2010  Prime Minister Kan reshuffled his cabinet.

21 Nov 2010  Justice Minister Minoru Yanagida resigned after he was accused of making light of the parliamentary process with an ill-judged remark about how “easy” his job was.

14 Jan 2011  Prime Minister Kan reshuffled his cabinet.

31 Jan 2011  Mr Ichiro Ozawa was indicted for alleged false reporting by his fund management company.

6 Mar 2011  Foreign Minister Seiji Maehara resigned over illegal donations.

10 Mar 2011  Prime Minister Kan said he would not resign even after acknowledging that his campaign office had unknowingly received illegal donations from a foreign supporter.

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