Friday, September 4, 2009

Hatoyama, changing his mind, will appoint senior officials quickly

After suggesting at the start of the week that he would hold off on announcing appointments, Hatoyama Yukio, a day after announcing that Ozawa Ichiro would serve as secretary-general of the DPJ, has announced his chief cabinet secretary, Hirano Hirofumi, a five-term representative from Osaka.

Hirano is one of Hatoyama's three closest lieutenants, along with Ozawa Sakihito and Matsuno Yorihisa. It is only natural that Hatoyama would name a close confidante as chief cabinet secretary. Hirano has no previous government experience, but has held several party leadership positions, serving as a deputy secretary-general when Hatoyama was secretary-general under Ozawa and most recently head of the party's executive staff office. Important considering that he will address the press frequently, he recognizes the importance of being able to communicate effectively in various media.

So there is little to say about Hatoyama's appointment of Hirano. But it seems that Hatoyama will start appointing senior officials in advance of 16 September after all. Asahi reports that the process will be accelerated, to avoid chaos within the party as members jockey for government positions. And with Hirano as CCS, the question is what position Kan Naoto will fill, seeing as he had been the previous front runner. Will Kan end up running the national strategy office? Asahi's report suggests that Hirano will likely be joined by Okada Katsuya as foreign minister and Fujii Hirohisa as finance minister.

Is anyone else seeing a pattern emerge? Hatoyama makes a decision, only to change his mind days later. Why didn't Hatoyama just stick to the plan of appointing senior leaders within days of the election in the first place?

Clearly he is going to need all the help he can get.


itllallendintears said...

It seems that Hatoyama really can't win: on one hand he needs to get moving, settle things down, and form a government as quickly as possible; on the other he needs to stick by his initial (questionable?) decision to wait until the formalities are out of the way.

This is new (obviously) for the DPJ, and there has to be some learning along the way. Acknowledging pragmatism doesn't make for make for good press scandal, but sometimes it might be the honest thing to report.

Marc Sheffner said...

Hatoyama, or his advisors, must read your blog. Didn't you suggest somewhere that Hatoyama should fill the important posts first?