Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Still before dawn

In the wake of Koizumi Junichiro's landslide election victory in 2005, the Economist published a survey on Japan under the headline "The Sun Also Rises," complete with a cover photo over the sun shining over Mt. Fuji.

The Economist was hardly alone in proclaiming that the Koizumi era marked the beginning of a new, optimistic era after the woe of the lost decade. If Koizumi was the face of a more politically assertive Japan, Toyota's rise was a symbol that despite economic stagnation, Japan's leading corporations could still compete globally, and in Toyota's case, best all challengers and set the industry's gold standard for production methods.

But just as many of Koizumi's reforms proved illusory once he left office, so too does Toyota's fall — with Toyoda Akio, its president and CEO, being raked over the coals in Washington — suggest that there was far less to the "Japan is back" meme than met the eye. That's not to say that Toyota's achievements weren't real; it's hard to argue with sales figures. But the idea that Toyota could be a twenty-first century national champion, symbol of a vibrant Japan, has been demolished. It seems that Toyota was plagued by the same pathologies that have plagued other industrial sectors and the public sector.

Patrick Cronin, writing at Foreign Policy's website, suggests that the Toyota debacle could be a blow to Japan's soft power. Maybe so, but in some way the scandal may simply reinforce the DPJ's message that the rot — which apparently left no corner of Japanese society untouched — which characterized the latter years of LDP rule needs to be swept away. In short, this scandal reinforces the idea that there are no shortcuts to recovery. As Peter Tasker argued in the Financial Times last week, the idea that Japan could continue to prosper on the back of exporters like Toyota has been punctured, making this scandal an opportunity for the DPJ to make its case that Japan needs to move away from export-led growth.

The DPJ's unheralded realism

In the latest stop in his regional tour, Foreign Minister Okada Katsuya visited Australia for talks with Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and Foreign Minister Stephen Smith.

Most of the headlines have focused on the exchange of words over whaling — the polite phrasing seems to be that Okada and Rudd had a "frank discussion", and Rudd has threatened to sue Japan if it does not halt whaling by November — but more important in the long term may be the agreement reached between the two governments to sign an Acquisition and Cross-Servicing Agreement (ACSA) in March, which would enable mutual logistical support on peacekeeping and disaster relief missions. The ACSA will be another small step in building an Australia-Japan security relationship following the joint security declaration signed in 2007 back when Abe Shinzo was prime minister.

Writing at The Interpreter (and from the Australian perspective), Graeme Dobell writes of Australia's hedging by building up its relationship with Japan over the span of a decade, noting that "It is not grand enough to be called a strategy. It does not yet have the status or coherence of a policy. Yet it is much more than an inclination or intention. Call it low-level hedging." One could very well say the same of Japan.

Despite the impression in some circles that the Hatoyama government is naive (due perhaps in part to Hatoyama's talk of an East Asian community) — and the irritating habit that some analysts have of dichotomizing Japan's foreign policy choice as being either alliance with the US or partnership with China — the Hatoyama government is deliberately working to improve Japan's bilateral ties throughout the region. In the span of weeks, Prime Minister Hatoyama has visited India to, among others, agree to regular bilateral security talks and Okada has visited South Korea and Australia to discuss how to bolster Japan's relationships with both countries. What was notable about both Okada trips is that he did not hesitate to acknowledge the obstacles to closer bilateral ties even as he expressed his beliefs that the obstacles can be overcome. Before he had his discussion about whaling in Australia, on his visit to South Korea Okada acknowledged in strong terms Japan's wrongdoing when it colonized Korea 1910-1945. In both cases, Okada is clearly trying to address the obstacles forthrightly while remaining focused on the goals of closer bilateral cooperation.

In bilateral relations with India, South Korea, and Australia (not to mention China), the Hatoyama government is building on the work of its LDP predecessors. What's different, however, is that the Hatoyama government is for the most part building its new grand strategy on the sly. Unlike say the Abe government, which used grandiloquent rhetoric about democracy and shared values to announce its bilateral initiatives with Australia and India (and was none too subtle about the links between among these three democracies and the US), the Hatoyama government has been workmanlike in its efforts to improve Japan's bilateral ties. There are few hints that it wants to link its bilateral ties with countries like Australia to its alliance with the US, which would in turn prompt talk of a grand alliance aimed at containing China. Instead, the Hatoyama government may be focusing on new bilateral relations as a hedge against the US. In the event that the US were to turn inward and weaken its commitment to Asia, Japan could use other friends in the region. Even with the US committed to the region, Japan's interests are served by better bilateral ties, which have been underdeveloped for too long.

That there are significant obstacles — Australia's threat of a lawsuit, for one — to overcome in nearly all of Japan's bilateral relationships in the region should not detract from appreciation of the Hatoyama government's efforts to overcome those obstacles. Its foreign policy initiatives may be quiet, but they will have implications for Japan's position in the region for years to come.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

A terrible idea from DPJ backbenchers, quickly nixed

On Wednesday Ubukata Yukio, the deputy secretary-general, Tanaka Makiko, Koizumi Junichiro's controversial foreign minister who joined the DPJ last year, and other DPJ Diet members proposed to Prime Minister Hatoyama Yukio and DPJ secretary-general Ozawa Ichiro that the party establish a new policy research arm to replace the policy research council that closed shop when the DPJ took power in September.

Once again showing that whatever the DPJ-led government's shortcomings, it is entirely serious about centralizing policymaking in the cabinet and neutering the ruling party, both Hatoyama and Ozawa were quick to reject the proposal.

That these backbenchers felt compelled to petition the government for some sort of policy role is a good sign that the Hatoyama government's efforts to change the policymaking process — at least as the ruling party is concerned — are working. Backbenchers, after all, have the most to lose from the shift to the Westminster model. Whereas under LDP rule a fourth-term Diet member like Ubukata could be aspiring to posts in the policy research council that would give him a stake in policymaking, both mid-career and first-term DPJ members have little to do but show up to vote for legislation and go home to their districts to campaign. Unlike LDP backbenchers, there are few channels for them even to try to intervene in order to direct pork-barrel spending to their districts. To a certain extent, their fates as politicians rest in the hands of a government over which they have little or no leverage.

And so it should remain. If the Hatoyama government is to fix any of the problems facing Japan, it will have to be able to formulate policy without having to worry about backbenchers working behind the cabinet's back to develop and advance their own policies. Creating a new policymaking outfit in the party would also give bureaucrats opposed to the government an outlet to leak information that could undermine the cabinet, playing divide and rule among the politicians. And given the Hatoyama cabinet's struggle to keep ministers on message, a DPJ policy shop could only muddle matters further.

Perhaps one day the DPJ might find it useful to create a party think tank that would keep backbenchers occupied and explore new ideas. But for now the new policymaking process is too fragile and restoring a policy role to the party will simply invite trouble.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Credit where credit is due

Another poll, more bad news for the Hatoyama government.

In Jiji Press's February public opinion poll, the Hatoyama government's disapproval rating surpassed its approval rating for the first time, with the former rising twelve points to nearly 45% and the latter falling eleven to nearly 36%. Disapproval among self-described independents rose thirteen points to roughly 46%. The LDP managed to gain little more than a percentage point in its support.

And yet despite sinking public approval numbers, the government has does not appeared to be fazed. Indeed, in a speech Sunday Foreign Minister Okada Katsuya stressed that the poll numbers had reached a floor and would improve from here.

Whether Okada's optimism is merited or not, the Hatoyama government deserves credit for not panicking in response to slumping public approval. If there was one problem with LDP governments for much of the party's rule — at least in recent years — it was hyper-sensitivity to public opinion. In just the last three years, we watched the process unfold like clockwork. Falling public approval led concerns about the prime minister's weakening "centripetal force" as LDP officials began to question his leadership; intra-party opponents to the prime minister's agenda would intensify their resistance; some party elder (usually Mori Yoshiro) would call for a cabinet reshuffle; and so on until resignation and ultimately a general election in the worst of circumstances.

For the most part, we are not witnessing the same downward spiral unfold under DPJ rule. The Hatoyama government has not panicked in response to newspaper polls, and appears to be carrying on with business as usual, insofar as we can call the work of this government "usual." While there have been murmurs within the DPJ about Ozawa Ichiro's staying on as secretary-general, the prime minister's grip (or perhaps, more properly, the cabinet's grip) on the party appears firm or even firmer than ever, even as the media measures the prime minister's coffin. To a certain extent, the Hatoyama government may not be overreacting to poll numbers because it is focused on the task of implementing its agenda over the course of four years, and believes that the only numbers that matter are the results of the next general election (and to a lesser extent the upcoming upper house election).

But the other reason why the Hatoyama government has not overreacted is because it is not facing the same pressure from its parliamentary majority that its LDP predecessors faced. The DPJ simply deserves credit for keeping its backbenchers in line. By closing the policy research council upon taking office, clamping down on Diet members' leagues, and Ozawa's ordering newly elected members to make getting reelected their primary and only task, a dysfunctional LDP that was able to prevent its prime ministers and cabinets from effectively formulating policy has given way to a passive DPJ that is not standing in the way of its cabinet and prime minister. Of course, much of the credit here goes to Ozawa, who has centralized powers divided within the LDP in his office — and who continues to inspire fear among most DPJ members. Sankei provides an interesting example here: distributing a survey concerning money politics, voting rights for resident foreigners, and other issues to Diet members, only thirty-nine of the DPJ's 421 members in the two houses replied to the survey, a reply rate of only 9%. Naturally Sankei complains in this article about the DPJ's protecting its silence and its members being afraid of Ozawa, but Sankei's displeasure is an illustration of just how successful the DPJ has been at controlling its own members. Contra LDP members who have criticized the DPJ for lacking intraparty democracy, arguably the degree of democracy within the ruling party is inversely correlated with the effectiveness of national democracy as expressed in cabinet government. Allowing backbenchers to do whatever they please — which is what the LDP came to in its final years once the factions were unable to provide even a modicum of intraparty discipline — is a recipe for immobile government.

None of this is to deny that the Hatoyama government is without problems. Concentrating policymaking power in the cabinet is no guarantee that the cabinet will use its power wisely or effectively. But then that's part of democracy too. The newly empowered cabinet will succeed or fail at the polls based on its performance, having no one to blame but itself should it fail to deliver on its promises.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Okada acknowledges past wrongs in Seoul

The Hatoyama government's campaign to revitalize Japan's bilateral relationships in Asia continues, with Foreign Okada Katsuya's visiting South Korea for the first time as foreign minister for meetings with President Lee and other senior officials.

While Americans are focused on celebrating what is being called the fiftieth anniversary of the US-Japan alliance this year, a more significant anniversary this year may be the 100th anniversary of Japan's annexation of Korea. The South Korean government has expressed its desire for a joint statement that will include a proper statement of remorse by Japan for its actions in Korea from 1910 until 1945.

In a meeting Thursday with Yu Myung-hwan, minster of foreign affairs and trade, Okada unambivalently expressed his understanding for the pain caused to the Korean people by Japan's usurpation of their country, and expressed his desire that the two countries can settle their disputes and build a forward-looking relationship.

Of course, Japan has apologized to South Korea before, and many — not only conservatives — will wonder why Japan has to apologize again. Okada's remarks provide some hint as to why Japan still has work to do on historical reconciliation. Rarely has a Japanese statesman shown that he is apologizing because he has looked at his country's behavior through the eyes of its victims and come to appreciate just how destructive Japan's actions were.

Diametrically opposed to Okada's attitude is that of Japan's revisionist right, which not only thinks Japan did nothing it has to apologize for in Korea or China, but actually denies that the Koreans and Chinese have legitimate grievances against Japan. Consider the arguments made by Tamogami Toshio, the now-retired Air Self-Defense Forces general who has become a prominent conservative spokesman since being driven from the service for his essay denying that Japan was an aggressor. In that essay, not only does Tamogami claim that Japan "advanced into" Korea with the "understanding" of its government (so understanding, in fact, that Korea's ruling dynasty willingly signed a treaty ending its own reign, willingly if one ignores the Korean government's pleas to the Western powers at The Hague to save it from Japan), he claims that under Japanese rule Korea was "prosperous and safe." After all, he writes, Korea's population nearly doubled! The Japanese were in Korea as liberators! ("The people in these areas were released from the oppression they had been subjected to up until then, and their standard of living markedly improved.") Japan built universities in its colonies! It permitted Koreans to fight for Japan!

No mention, of course, of what the Korean people wanted. Did they ask for Japan to develop their country for them? Or to replace the Korean language with Japanese, Korean names with Japanese names? For that matter, did they ask for the privilege of fighting and dying on behalf of the Japanese emperor?

It is for this reason that Okada's almost matter-of-fact statement is significant. It should be simply a matter of fact when a Japanese official acknowledges the tremendous pain caused by his country to its neighbors — and that a not insignificant portion of elite opinion can see little or nothing wrong with Japan's behavior means that there is a great need for more matter-of-fact statements like Okada's, and yes, a joint statement that unambiguously acknowledges Japan's wrongdoing in specific terms (not just the general statements of remorse) while looking to build a new relationship for the future.

As a final note on this matter, I think it is important to take issue with Tamogami's comparison of Japan's behavior in Korea with the behavior of the Western powers in their Asian colonies (the British in India is a favorite example). While the comparison has some merits, it is by no means the best comparison. The best comparison that comes to mind when I think of Japanese rule in Korea is not the British in India but the British in Ireland. After all, how can British rule in India — which was in many ways indirect, even after 1857 — be compared to the brutal domination of an immediate neighbor? Indeed, British rule in Ireland was far more brutal than even Japanese rule in Korea, lasting longer and having ever-more devastating consequences. The Great Potato Famine, for which Tony Blair apologized early in his premiership, was only one of the more monstrous moments in the bloody history of British rule in Ireland. The Irish still curse Oliver Cromwell, nearly four centuries after his invasion of Ireland cemented British rule.

The point of looking to British rule in Ireland is that nations have long memories — even longer memories when the harm done to them was by a close neighbor, nations with shared destinies thanks to geography. On top of the weight of history is the natural resentment felt by small countries at being dominated by their larger neighbors. Why should Japanese expect that Koreans will simply "get over" Japanese rule, which began only a century ago and was brutal in its own right, if not nearly as prolonged or as total as British rule in Ireland? More importantly, what right do Japanese have to tell Koreans (or Chinese) what the appropriate level of remorse is? Japanese leaders need to stop thinking of the rectification of history has simply being a matter of the number of apologies rendered and recognize, as Okada does (and, I think, Prime Minister Hatoyama does), that less important than the number of apologies is seeing history through Korean or Chinese eyes and acknowledging that the humiliation experienced by colonized peoples is not something that can be balanced out by a list of universities established or a tabulation of miles of train tracks built, and, moreover, cannot be expressed in terms of the numbers of victims, as meaningful as those numbers are. As the Irish experience suggests, in some way these wounds never heal completely.

But at least the Hatoyama government is determined to take a big step forward. Building a constructive relationship with South Korea is too important to allow Japan to continue to be held back by the unwillingness of Japanese nationalists to accept any people's love of country but their own as legitimate.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Edano joins the cabinet

Edano Yukio, one of the few DPJ politicians who was expected to receive a cabinet appointment last year but didn't, will no longer be outside of the government. He will take over responsibility for the Government Revitalization Unit (GRU), which was previously headed by Sengoku Yoshito, who since Kan Naoto moved to the finance ministry last month was also serving as minister responsible for the national strategy office. Sengoku will take sole responsibility for the NSO while Edano heads the GRU.

Coming in the wake of the indictment of three of Ozawa Ichiro's former secretaries, the media is reporting Edano's appointment as another blow to Ozawa, as Edano is marked as an anti-Ozawa partisan, having opposed the DPJ's merger with Ozawa's Liberal Party from the very beginning and continuing to criticize Ozawa in the years following the merger. Indeed, not long ago Edano publicly suggested that if Ozawa could not convince the public to see his side of the story, he would "have to take responsibility" for what he had done (i.e., resign).

Yomiuri wonders whether Edano's appointment — with Ozawa's acquiescence — signals a diminution of Ozawa's power.

That might be reading too much into an appointment that is not altogether surprising. There was considerable surprise back in September that Edano had been left out of the government, suggesting that he was at the top of the list of backbenchers waiting to join the cabinet. The budget review hearings conducted by the GRU last year show that the post is an important one, that needed to be filled by a full-time minister, especially with the government's submitting legislation that will elevate the national strategy office into a full bureau (and give the GRU's hearings legal standing). Sengoku will undoubtedly have his hands full building a bureau whose powers and functions remain a mystery. Perhaps the timing was intended to show that Hatoyama is in charge even as he confirmed Ozawa's staying on as secretary-general, but believe it or not, the story of the Hatoyama government is not entirely or even mostly a story about Ozawa Ichiro.

Ozawa has pressured the government on certain issues and centralized functions in his office so that all requests to the government go through him, but the media's focus on Ozawa has overshadowed the important work the government is doing on building a new policymaking process, a project with which Ozawa is in full agreement (but stories about areas in which the government and the secretary-general are in full agreement apparently make for less interesting copy). In addition to the above-mentioned "political leadership" bill, the cabinet is also set to approve a civil service reform bill that could completely upend the traditional practices of the bureaucracy, doing away with the position of administrative vice-minister, restoring to the cabinet the right to make personnel appointments (and with it, the right to ignore seniority within the ministry and appoint younger officials or civilians to senior posts), and other reforms. These are remarkable changes under consideration — with remarkably little public protest from the bureaucracy — and they deserve more attention than they have received.

How the Hatoyama cabinet manages Ozawa has from the beginning been one of the more important challenges facing the DPJ-led government, but it is by no means the only challenge or the most important challenge. It would be nice if the news media remembered that from time to time and devoted a little less attention to the ongoing drama of Ozawa and a little more attention to what the Hatoyama government is actually doing with the majority the public awarded it last year.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Ozawa diplomacy

As Ozawa Ichiro waited for the Tokyo Public Prosecutors Office to decide whether it would indict him along with his former secretaries, the DPJ secretary-general was busy meeting with Kurt Campbell, US assistant secretary of state for East Asian and Pacific affairs, who stopped in Japan last week along with Wallace "Chip" Gregson, assistant secretary of defense for Asia-Pacific affairs for discussions with Foreign Minister Okada Katsuya and Defense Minister Kitazawa Toshimi.

Campbell and Ozawa spoke for an hour last Tuesday, with US Ambassador John Roos also in attendance. Neither revealed much about the meeting, although it seems that Campbell requested that Ozawa visit Washington in May with a large number of DPJ Diet members in tow, just like his December visit to Beijing along with more than 140 DPJ members.

Ozawa's response to what he called a "formal request" is a bit puzzling. At a press conference Monday he said that policy discussions are the job of the government, i.e. if the US government thinks that it can treat with Ozawa in order to find a breakthrough on Futenma it will be disappointed. Instead Ozawa views a Washington trip as necessary to build relations between the DPJ and the Democratic Party — and accordingly he wants a guarantee that a meeting will be scheduled with President Obama. That strikes me as an odd condition considering that Ozawa stated that he will not be going to discuss policy. Why should the president meet with a party official there on party business? LDP officials may have met with the US president when they visited Washington — Abe Shinzo, for example — but if foreign policy is being made by the cabinet, what business does a party official, even the secretary-general, have making a meeting with the president a precondition of his visit?

If Ozawa is serious about not interfering with the Hatoyama government's foreign policy making, he should make a point of having only brief, perfunctory meetings with administration officials, especially considering that sometime around Golden Week the government will presumably have reached a decision regarding the 2006 realignment plan. Indeed, if Ozawa really wanted to help the alliance he would travel with up-and-coming DPJ members whose foreign policy views are in the party mainstream and give US officials a better sense of the party's thinking.

While Ozawa caused considerable distress in Washington with his grand tour to Beijing — to which US officials overreacted to seeing as how symbolic visits by a politician outside of the government, no matter how powerful, will not resolve the thorny issues in the Sino-Japanese relationship — not going to Washington after having been explicitly invited would no doubt be another source of agitation.

But perhaps it would be better off if an Ozawa visit to Washington fell through. Even as Ozawa claims that policy discussions are a matter for the government, his actions undoubtedly have consequences for the government's efforts, as his China trip showed. And once in Washington, would Ozawa be able to control himself and refrain from saying anything that might undermine the government's work?

This might be a good occasion for Prime Minister Hatoyama to exercise his authority and order the secretary-general to stay home to focus on the impending upper house election campaign.

And the US government should probably get out of the habit of maintaining anything but perfunctory ties with ruling party officials outside of the government.

I find the idea of Diet members' diplomacy — giin gaiko, the idea that backbenchers can play an independent role in diplomatic problem solving — a pernicious notion characteristic of LDP rule, the foreign policy equivalent of backbencher policy intervention to secure pork-barrel projects. (not least in the case of Suzuki Muneo, now a DPJ ally as head of his New Party DAICHI). In a Westminster-style political system, foreign policy ought to be the sole province of the cabinet. Backbenchers, no matter how senior, ought to respect that or be reprimanded for interfering with government business. Ozawa has been tightening controls on the role that backbenchers can play in policymaking. Why should he be exempt?

Naturally the Hatoyama government should be doing a better job articulating the national interest and deserves at least some blame for creating a vacuum that has to some extent been filled by Ozawa. But the point remains: the prime minister and his cabinet ministers should think hard about whether they want Ozawa going to Washington at a sensitive moment for the government.

Friday, February 5, 2010

With Ozawa, there's no easy option

Ozawa Ichiro has escaped indictment by the Tokyo Public Prosecutors Office again. Once again, his former secretaries were not quite so lucky, with three, including sitting Diet member Ishikawa Tomohiro, being indicted for political funds violations.

Michael Cucek rightly points to the gross misconduct of the PPO in its Ahab-like pursuit of Ozawa — and perhaps the more egregious campaign by the media to paint Ozawa as the conniving, monstrous puppet master of the Hatoyama government.

But I cannot treat Ozawa's escape from prosecution as a victory for the prime minister and the DPJ, and cannot but wonder whether the DPJ wouldn't be better off without its secretary-general.

If anything, the indictment of three of his former aides even as Ozawa survives with a vote of confidence from the prime minister will continue to be a drag on the government. As in the days when Ozawa was in charge and Hatoyama his secretary-general, Hatoyama sounds like Ozawa's chief apologist, explaining Ozawa's behavior to a skeptical public. Except, of course, Hatoyama is now the prime minister of Japan. Ozawa's presence at the head of the DPJ would be less of a problem for the Hatoyama cabinet if it had been able to dominate the media and dictate the narrative being told about the government. But the Hatoyama government has been so ineffectual in its public relations — not entirely its fault seeing as how certain publications are serving as the LDP's partners in opposition — that everything said or done by the government in relation to Ozawa contributes to the media's narrative of a government under Ozawa's thumb. Instead of reporting on the remarkable changes the Hatoyama government has made to the policymaking process, the media has been able to fixate on the superficial resemblance between the current government and the LDP in its heyday (which Ozawa of course participated in). As I've said before, I'm not convinced that DPJ government with Ozawa wielding outsized influence is worse than LDP government in which an army of backbenchers wielded influence in combination with the bureaucracy that was able to undermine all but the most determined prime ministers — and even determined prime ministers like Koizumi Junichiro did not win every battle with the backbenchers.

What should the Hatoyama government, Ozawa, and the DPJ do going forward? As Hokkaido University's Yamaguchi Jiro — a DPJ sympathizer — notes, the fate of political change and with it the Japanese people's hope for their democracy hang in the balance. He recommends that Ozawa let the trial proceed and let the PPO's evidence (or lack thereof) speak for itself. At the same time, he suggests that Ozawa forthrightly answer every question surrounding doubts about his political funds in the court of public opinion. I wonder whether Ozawa is capable of this. I know that Hatoyama and other DPJ leaders are not capable of making Ozawa do it. At the very least, Ozawa has to restrain himself and at least appear as if he is the prime minister's subordinate, not his equal (or superior).

Meanwhile, the Hatoyama government must fundamentally reconsider how it presents itself to the public via the media. The time of letting the facts speak for themselves has passed, because the facts about the government do not speak for themselves. The government needs begin aggressively making its case. Whether that will entail a new chief cabinet secretary, a media strategy team attached to the prime minister's office, or some other scheme will depend on the government, but the current arrangement is simply not working. And the prime minister needs to start showing some ability to lead, or step down.

No matter how skilled a campaigner he is, no matter how zealous a reformer he is, Ozawa's baggage imperils the government — and more than that, it jeopardizes Japan's political future and provides further impetus to cynicism among the Japanese people. There is no easy answer to the Hatoyama government's dilemma. Fire Ozawa, and it loses a skilled campaigner trusted among party supporters in the provinces. Retain Ozawa, and the prime minister continues to look weak and the media continues to feast upon the Ozawa scandal.

Ultimately, I fear that Hatoyama is simply incapable of solving this dilemma and saving his government.