From the Daily Yomiuri Online. (I like the “observers said” quote. I was an observer, too, and I said the same thing!)

The victory of Finance Minister Yoshihiko Noda in a runoff election for the Democratic Party of Japan leadership Monday signified a refusal by a majority of party lawmakers to restore visible influence to former leader Ichiro Ozawa, observers said.

Noda won wide support, not only from the group led by former Foreign Minister Seiji Maehara–who, like Noda, had backed the administration of Prime Minister Naoto Kan–but also the group led by Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Minister Michihiko Kano and most of the “floaters” who belong to no particular intraparty group.

DPJ lawmakers grew concerned that Ozawa and his followers might gain a free hand over personnel appointments and policy decisions if Economy, Trade and Industry Minister Banri Kaieda became party leader and prime minister, observers said. Kaieda got the most votes in the first round of voting, with the full support of the groups led by Ozawa and former Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama.

But anti-Ozawa feeling was not the only reason lawmakers voted for Noda:

Some observers said support for Noda increased after Kaieda indicated he would cancel the agreement reached by the DPJ and the opposition Liberal Democratic Party and New Komeito to review the DPJ’s manifesto from the 2009 House of Representatives election.

This caused a number of DPJ lawmakers to fear that if Kaieda were elected party leader and prime minister, the new administration under him would be almost certainly become bogged down under a strong backlash from the opposition parties.

Noda clearly stated that he would review the manifesto, with no element of it being “sacred.” He thus indicated he would continue, in principle, the Kan administration’s stance of prioritizing cooperation with the opposition camp, rather than adherence to the manifesto.

via Anti-Ozawa votes put Noda over : National : DAILY YOMIURI ONLINE (The Daily Yomiuri).


Kaieda belongs to an intraparty group led by former Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama and received the backing of former DPJ President Ichiro Ozawa, who leads the largest bloc in the party. Kaieda led the first round with 143 votes, while Noda won 102 in the five-man race.

Former Foreign Minister Seiji Maehara won 74 votes.

However, Noda won the runoff thanks to the ballots of supporters of Maehara, as well as support from his own group and Kan’s. Noda also received votes in the runoff from lawmakers who voted for former Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism Minister Sumio Mabuchi or Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Minister Michihiko Kano in the first round.

The Maehara and Noda camps on Sunday agreed to cooperate in case of a runoff, if either Maehara or Noda took second place in the first round.

Voting took place at a general meeting of DPJ Diet members, which began at 11 a.m. at a Tokyo hotel. A total of 398 DPJ Diet members were eligible to vote as of Monday morning: 292 members of the House of Representatives and 106 members of the House of Councillors. The party memberships of nine members, including Ozawa, have been suspended.

The actual number of votes cast was 395 in both the first and second rounds. However, three ballots were deemed invalid in the second round.

via Noda elected DPJ president : National : DAILY YOMIURI ONLINE (The Daily Yomiuri).