As a long-time observer of the US political scene, where no opportunity to slam the enemy is missed by highly paid professionals of political warfare, I cannot but see a golden opportunity for the DPJ to cash in on this report about Ozawa plotting to send assassins for two Diet members in his Iwate fiefdom who failed to obey his orders to leave the DPJ with him.
It seems that Ozawa himself has lost track of where his one-time disciple is coming from, so it’s no shame if you happen to know little about Mr. Kikawada. This obscure backbencher’s initial fifteen minutes of national [fame] came at unfathomable personal cost. Mr. Kikawada became the political face of the 3.11 tragedy when he lost [his wife, oldest son and parents as well as one of his political assistants] to the tsunami. (And you thought the Fukushima victims had it bad.) He has subsequently used it to champion the cause of the tsunami victims in the political sphere. He reluctantly left a subcabinet post at the nexus of the reconstruction efforts at Ozawa’s bidding only after pleading, successfully, to Ozawa to come back to Iwate for the first time in over a year to address Kikawada’s constituency. In case you are not overly familiar with the Japanese political scene, Ozawa’s ex-wife sent out a scathing letter to key Ozawa supporters that he had cowered indoors with fear after the Fukushima disaster and that it had been his fear of radiation exposure had kept him away from his Iwate home for so long.
Now imagine what Karl Rove or David Axelrod could do with this kind of situation. Of course it [could] have been a red herring; the Japanese media, as is often their wont, reading something sinister into a seemingly innocuous statement. But it doesn’t matter. It’s in the Yomiuri, so it must be true, right? Ozawa could deny it, but the damage will have been done. Oh, well, guess what the odds are against the DPJ just sitting on its hands and do[ing] nothing?