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08TOKYO1051 2008-04-17 04:25:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Tokyo
Cable title:  

DEMOCRATIC PARTY OF JAPAN GROUPS AND THEIR

Tags:   PGOV PINR PREL JA 
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					  C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 07 TOKYO 001051 

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 2018/04/15
TAGS: PGOV PINR PREL JA
SUBJECT: DEMOCRATIC PARTY OF JAPAN GROUPS AND THEIR
POLITICAL IMPACT

REF: TOKYO 781

TOKYO 00001051 001.2 OF 007


Classified By: Ambassador J. Thomas Schieffer, reasons 1.4(b),(d).

Summary and Comment
-------------------



1. (C) The Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ), Japan's largest
opposition party and controller of the Diet's Upper House,
until recently had only one party grouping that was
considered effective and influential: DPJ head Ichiro
Ozawa's inner circle. Over the past several months, however,
other DPJ groups, notably those opposed to Ozawa, have become
more united and active. With the DPJ presidential election
scheduled to be held in September 2008, and the possibility
of broad political realignment in the offing, how the DPJ's
groups maneuver and interact will have a significant impact
on Japan's political future.



2. (C) If the DPJ presidential election were held today,
Embassy Tokyo's contacts believe that Ozawa, the DPJ's Diet
election mastermind, would probably be reelected. However,
Ozawa's stock is going down. Recent missteps have led to
increasing friction with both the party's leadership and
rank-and-file. In addition, his personal approval rating is
lower than PM Fukuda's and his disapproval rating is higher.
The DPJ's support rate has dropped due to its handling of the
Bank of Japan (BOJ) Governor issue. As the DPJ considers who
can best lead the party to victory in the next general
election -- the timing of which remains unknown -- there will
be intense jockeying for position within and among the
party's various groups. This cable describes these groups
and their leaders, policy focus, and membership. It also
highlights how these groups differ from the ruling Liberal
Democratic Party's (LDP) factions. End Summary and Comment.

How DPJ Groups Differ from LDP Factions


--------------------------





3. (C) DPJ groups and the LDP factions differ greatly in
purpose and orientation. The LDP factions' power has
traditionally been based on the ability to provide financial
support and secure Cabinet and party posts for faction
members, thereby guaranteeing factional loyalty. Although
the "money game" is less important following changes in
Japan's electoral system and in the Political Funding Control
Law, LDP factions still support their members financially and
continue to use their influence whenever possible to secure
appointments in the government and party.



4. (C) DPJ groups, on the other hand, are more focused on
policy and lack the enticement of money or posts. These
groups are centered around six DPJ leaders and the two former
political parties that united to form the DPJ. The leaders
are:

-- President Ozawa
-- Secretary General Yukio Hatoyama
-- Acting President Naoto Kan
-- Vice President Seiji Maehara
-- Vice President Katsuya Okada and
-- Rep. Yoshihiko Noda.

The two former parties are:

-- the Socialist Party (SP) and
-- the Democratic Socialist Party (DSP).

Roughly divided by ideological orientation, the Ozawa,
Hatoyama, Maehara, Noda, and former DSP groups are all
"conservative," i.e., they support the U.S.-Japan Security
Treaty and, in general, free market economics and
competition. The Kan and former SP groups are
"liberal/progressive," i.e., supportive, but more critical,
of the U.S.-Japan Alliance, with a focus on social welfare
and equality. The Okada support group is a grab bag of
different ideologies. Diet members affiliate themselves with
particular groups based on their policy ideas, personal
connections and individual beliefs. Additionally, some DPJ
Diet members belong to multiple groups and refrain from
clarifying their policy positions.

The Ozawa Group

TOKYO 00001051 002.2 OF 007




--------------------------





5. (C) Ichiro Ozawa's group consists of former Liberal Party
members and so-called "Isshinkai" (Group of the Newly
Elected) members, a group of young, pro-Ozawa DPJ
politicians. Senior members of the group, such as Hiroshi
Nakai and Kenji Yamaoka, are known for ultra-nationalistic
views that track closely with the right wing of the LDP.
Members of the DPJ's "Ianfu Mondai to Nanking Jiken no
Shinjitsu wo Kenshousuru Kai" (Group to Study the Comfort
Women Issue and the Truth about the Nanking Incident) are
also well represented in the Ozawa group, as are some members
of the "Minna de Yasukuni Jinja ni Sanpaisuru Kokkaigiin no
Kai" (Diet Group to Visit the Yasukuni Shrine). Embassy
media contacts say that only 30 or so of the roughly 50 Ozawa
group members are actively involved. The rest belong to
other groups and could easily change their position depending
on fluctuating political circumstances. (See para 17 for a
list of confirmed members.)

The Hatoyama Group


--------------------------





6. (C) Secretary General Yukio Hatoyama heads the "Seiken
Koutai wo Jitsugensuru Kai" (Group to Realize a Change in
Government). The 23 members meet every Thursday over lunch
in Hatoyama's private office. Dubbed the "Salon Hatoyama,"
the group is considered by some to be a gathering of "rich
kids" who share Hatoyama's wealthy family background and
multi-generational political pedigree. Although Hatoyama is
a self-described liberal, his policy views tend to be
conservative. For example, he strongly advocates revising
the Constitution to increase Japan's responsibility for its
own security, maintains a tough stance against the DPRK
(particularly over the abduction issue), and once argued for
arming Japan with nuclear weapons. After Prime Minister
Yasuo Fukuda and Ozawa failed to create a grand coalition in
November 2007, the Hatoyama group distanced itself from the
Ozawa group and approached the Maehara and Noda groups (see
below), which are known to be anti-Ozawa, Asahi Shimbun
senior staff writer Hiroshi Hoshi told Embassy Tokyo. (See
para 18 for a list of confirmed members.)

The Kan Group


--------------------------





7. (C) Acting DPJ President Naoto Kan heads the "Kuni no
Katachi Kenkyuu Kai" (Shape of the Nation Study Group). Its
25 members meet every Thursday. Like the Hatoyama group, the
Kan group distanced itself from Ozawa after the failed grand
coalition attempt and is positioned somewhere between the
Ozawa group and anti-Ozawa groups, according to Asahi's
Hoshi. Kan formerly was a patent attorney engaged in civic
movements and consumer advocacy. His main policy focus is
the abolition of collusive relationships among politicians,
bureaucrats and businessmen. The "Kuni no Katachi Kenkyuu
Kai" group stresses the importance of political activities at
the grassroots level to reflect the needs of the general
public. Kan rose to prominence in the mid-90's while serving
as the LDP's Minister of Health and Welfare. While heading
the Ministry, Kan admitted the Ministry was at fault in an
HIV-tainted blood scandal and settled a long-standing lawsuit
brought by the victims. (See para 19 for a list of confirmed
members.)

The Maehara & Noda Groups


--------------------------





8. (C) The group led by former DPJ President and current Vice
President Seiji Maehara is officially known as "Ryoun-kai"
(Group of the High-Spirited). Former Diet Affairs Committee
Chairman Yoshihiko Noda's group is called "Shishi no kai"
(Group of People of Vision). The groups' members number
around 25 and eight respectively. Maehara and Noda are both
graduates of the Matsushita Institute of Government and
Management, a private graduate school dedicated to producing
future politicians and businessmen, and they share similar
conservative policy beliefs. DPJ liberals refer to them as
"policy fundamentalists," criticizing their policy ideas as
"too conservative." Because the two men support each other
and mostly act in concert, political observers often refer to
their followers as the "Maehara-Noda group." Because Maehara
has already served as DPJ party president, and was forced to

TOKYO 00001051 003.2 OF 007


step down under a cloud, he will likely step aside for Noda
and work to make him the party's future leader, Nikkei
Shimbun political reporter Shunsuke Oba explained to Embassy
Tokyo. (See paras 20 and 21 for a list of confirmed members.)



9. (C) The Maehara-Noda group members believe that Ozawa's
political style, reminiscent of old-school LDP politics, is
too reliant on courting interest groups' votes and
negotiating behind closed doors, according to a media contact
close to both groups. They believe this makes the DPJ too
much like the LDP and threatens the party's existence.
Significantly, these groups' influence within the party and
on Ozawa appears to be growing. For example, during the
recent Bank of Japan (BOJ) Governor selection process,
although Ozawa initially signaled his willingness to support
former Ministry of Finance (MOF) Vice Minister Toshiro Muto
as the new BOJ Governor, the Maehara and Noda groups strongly
opposed Muto because they believed his MOF background would
impede his ability to separate fiscal and monetary
policy-making. Ozawa eventually came around to their way of
thinking and opposed Muto and the other MOF candidates.
Ozawa's switch to a tough stance was a signal to anti-Ozawa
groups of his willingness to work with them, Embassy Tokyo
contacts report.

The Okada Group


--------------------------





10. (C) Former DPJ president Katsuya Okada has no formal
group of his own, but a solid number of DPJ members and
potential Lower House election candidates would support him
to replace Ozawa in the September DPJ presidential race
should he decide to run. The Maehara and Noda groups firmly
back Okada, Jiji Press chief political commentator Shiro
Tasaki told Embassy Tokyo. Okada does not share the policy
orientation of Maehara and Noda, but he is known as a
security policy realist and is more skilled than Ozawa at
consolidating party members' opinions.



11. (C) Okada's informal support group includes those
politicians who lost their seats in the 2005 Lower House
election and are preparing for the next one. As DPJ
president in 2005, Okada took responsibility for the loss and
resigned. He continues to shoulder the burden of their
defeat, visiting each losing candidate's district to support
their continuing campaign activities. DPJ Lower House member
Akihisa Nagashima, a Maehara group member, told Embassy Tokyo
that he believed many DPJ party members believe that Okada is
"sincere" and that he is gaining respect within the party.
Nagashima added that Okada's activities are "part of his
strategy to return to power."

The Former Socialist Party Group


--------------------------





12. (C) The former Socialist Party (or Yokomichi) group is
small, with around 18 members, but it retains its influence
within the party by enjoying a mutually supportive
relationship with Ozawa. Its leader, Takahiro Yokomichi,
agreed with Ozawa in 2004 that a "UN Stand-by Force," a
separate unit from the Self Defense Forces, should be
established for peace-keeping operations (PKO) under UN
authority. The concept would allow Japan's active
participation in PKO but would not require revision of
Article 9 of the Constitution. According to Nikkei's Oba,
Yokomichi wanted to use the agreement to counter
pro-Constitutional revision groups, including those of
Hatoyama, Maehara and Noda. For Ozawa's part, he sought to
strengthen his relationship with the former Socialists in
order to gain election cooperation from their labor union
supporters. In the 2007 Upper House election, Ozawa took
full advantage of the labor vote, successfully orchestrating
the DPJ's landslide victory. (See para 22 for a list of
confirmed members.)

The Former Democratic Socialist Party Group


--------------------------





13. (C) The former Democratic Socialist Party's (DSP) 22
members are led by DPJ Vice President Tatsuo Kawabata, who
enjoys a long-standing relationship with labor unions, mainly
the Confederation of Japan Automobile Workers' Unions, the
Federation of Electric Power Related Industry Workers'

TOKYO 00001051 004.2 OF 007


Unions, and the Federation of Textile, Chemical, Food,
Commercial, Service and General Workers' Unions. Despite
close ties to these unions, former DSP members share the
conservative views of the Ozawa and Hatoyama groups. Ozawa
works closely with the former DSP group for the same reason
he remains close to the Socialist group: to take advantage
of the labor vote for the next election, Oba told us. (See
para 23 for a list of confirmed members.)

Political Implications


--------------------------





14. (C) Although no one within the DPJ questions Ozawa's
ability to engineer successful election campaigns (as he did
the DPJ's Upper House victory in July 2007), party distrust
of him has deepened following a number of missteps. His
aborted attempt to form a grand coalition in November 2007,
as well as his absence from a highly symbolic vote against
the new anti-terror special measures bill in January, have
weakened Ozawa's hold on the party. Furthermore, a number of
DPJ Diet members remain concerned that Ozawa may still harbor
grand coalition intentions. This concern, combined with
frictions between Ozawa and others in the party, have turned
some DPJ groups against him, Embassy Tokyo political and
media contacts note. As the BOJ governor issue demonstrates,
these groups are coalescing and increasingly impacting the
party's policy decisions.



15. (C) Should Ozawa's actions continue to negatively impact
the DPJ's support rate, anti-Ozawa groups will intensify
their maneuverings to jettison him and elect Okada as the
next party president, Embassy contacts believe. To
strengthen his base, Ozawa has established a new intra-party
parliamentary league of Diet members who once served as local
assembly members and as heads of municipalities. The groups
within the DPJ that continue to support Ozawa include his own
group and the former SP and DSP groups, or about 71
politicians. The "anti-Ozawa coalition" includes the
Hatoyama, Kan, Maehara, and Noda groups and numbers around 80
politicians. Roughly 80 politicians, or one-third of the
DPJ's 223 total Diet members, remain on the fence.



16. (C) In addition to jockeying for position within the DPJ,
increased cross-party interactions, attempts at party
poaching and the formation of supra-partisan groups are
leading to speculation about a possible political realignment
(reftel). For example, the media reported in late February
that senior DPJ politicians Maehara and Yoshito Sengoku had
planned to attend a dinner meeting with former PM and LDP
Diet member Junichiro Koizumi and former LDP Secretary
general Taku Yamasaki (the meeting was canceled at the last
minute). Additionally, LDP Headquarters Director General
Hitoshi Motojuku told Embassy Tokyo that the party is
attempting to entice the former DSP group to form its own
party after the next Lower House election and join the
LDP-Komeito coalition. The DPJ's Nagashima further disclosed
to us that Ozawa, eyeing possible political realignment, has
approached LDP Policy Research Council Chairman Sadakazu
Tanigaki and his faction members about a possible tie-up. In
the midst of these political maneuverings, how DPJ groups
continue to interact and align themselves will greatly
influence Japan's political future.

DPJ Presidential Election Mechanics


--------------------------





17. (SBU) Before a DPJ election for party head is held, a
candidate for party president must submit a petition signed
by 20 or more Diet members. Once candidates have been
selected, the election takes place in three stages. First,
the 300 local DPJ chapters each hold an election, and the
candidates receive one point for each chapter won.
Subsequently, DPJ local assembly members nationwide hold an
election with 100 points at stake. Based on the outcome of
this vote, the candidates proportionally divide up the 100
points. Finally, the (current) 223 DPJ Diet members cast
their votes, worth two points each, for a total of 446
points. The points from all three of these stages are
totaled up, and the candidate with the most points becomes
the DPJ's president. In the September 2006 DPJ presidential
election, only Ozawa threw his hat in the ring and no
election was held.


TOKYO 00001051 005.2 OF 007




18. (C) Members of the Ozawa Group (44 confirmed members)

Lower House (31)

Aisaka,Seiji (1st term)
Fujii,Hirohisa (6)
Ishikawa,Tomohiro (1)
Ishizeki,Takashi (1)
Jinpu,Hideo (2)
Kikawada,Toru (3)
Kikuta,Makiko (2)
Kira,Shuji (2)
Komiyama,Ysuko (2)
Maeda,Yukichi (3)
Matsuki,Kenko (2)
Mitani,Mitsuo (1)
Murai,Muneaki (2)
Nagayasu,Takashi (2)
Nakai,Hiroshi (10)
Nakano,Hiroko (2)
Okumura,Tenzo (2)
Ozawa,Ichiro (13)
Ryu,Hirofumi (2)
Shinohara,Takashi (2)
Sonoda,Yasuhiro (2)
Suzuki,Katsumasa (2)
Tajima,Kaname (2)
Tanabu,Masayo (2)
Uchiyama,Akira (2)
Washio,Eiichiro (1)
Yamada,Masahiko (4)
Yamaguchi,Tsuyoshi (1)
Yamaoka,Kenji (4)
Yokoyama,Hokuto (1)
Yoshida,Izumi (2)

Upper House (13)

Aoki, Ai (1)
Funayama, Yasue (1)
Hirano,Ttsuo (2)
Ichikawa, Yasuo (1)
Ishii, Hajime (1)
Kawakami, Yoshihiro (1)
Koda, Kuniko (1)
Kudo, Kentaro (1)
Mori, Yuko (2)
Muroi, Kunihiko (1)
Nishioka,Takeo (2)
Tanabu,Masami (2)
Uematsu, Emiko (1)

SIPDIS




19. (C) Members of the Hatoyama Group (23 confirmed members)

Lower House (14)

Fujimura, Osamu (5)
Hatoyama, Yukio (7)
Hirano, Hirofumi (4)
Kawauchi, Hiroshi (4)
Koga, Issei (6)
Kondo, Yosuke (2)
Maki, Yoshio (3)
Matsubara, Jin (3)
Matsuno, Yorihisa (3)
Mitsui, Wakio (3)
Morimoto, Tetsuo (1)
Ohata, Akihiro (6)
Oshima, Atsushi (3)
Ozawa, Sakihito (5)

Upper House (9)

Fujita, Yukihisa (1)
Hironaka, Wakako (4)
Iwamoto, Tsukasa (2)
Kobayashi, Masao (1)
Odachi, Motoyuki (1)
Oishi, Masamitsu (1)
Shiba, Hirokazu (1)
Shimada, Chiyako (1)
Yanase, Susumu (2)

TOKYO 00001051 006.2 OF 007






20. (C) Members of the Kan Group (24 members)

Lower House (15)

Doi, Ryuichi (6)
Hiraoka, Hideo (3)
Iwakuni, Tetsundo (4)
Kan, Naoto (9)
Kaneda, Seiichi (5)
Kato, Koichi (3)
Matsumoto, Ryu (6)
Nagatsuma, Akira (3)
Nishimura, Chinami (2)
Suematsu, Yoshinori (4)
Tajima, Kaneme (2)
Terada, Manabu (2)
Tsumura, Keisuke (2)

SIPDIS
Tsutsui, Nobutaka (4)

SIPDIS
Yunoki, Michiyoshi (1)

Upper House (9)

Eda, Satsuki (3)
Fujisue, Kenzo (1)
Ienishi, Satoru (1)
Kina, Shokichi (1)
Madoka, Yoriko (3)
Ogawa, Toshio (2)
Okazaki, Tomiko (3)
Sakurai, Mitsuru (2)
Tsurunen, Marutei (2)

SIPDIS




21. (C) Members of the Maehara Group (25 members)

Lower House (19)

Azumi, Jun (4)
Edano, Yukio (5)
Furukawa, Motohisa (4)
Genba, Koichiro (5)
Hosono, Goshi (3)
Izumi, Kenta (2)
Kitagami, Keiro (1)
Komiyama, Yoko (3)
Kondo, Shoichi (4)
Mabuchi, Sumio (2)
Maehara, Seiji (5)
Nagashima, Akihisa (2)
Ogawa, Junya (1)
Sengoku, Yoshito (5)
Tajima, Issei (2)
Takai, Miho (2)
Watanabe, Shu (4)
Yamanoi, Kazunori (3)
Yokomitsu, Katsuhiko (5)

Upper House (6)

Fukuyama, Tetsuro (2)
Haku, Shinkun (1)
Matsui, Koji (2)
Minezaki, Naoki (3)
Ogawa, Katsuya (3)
Ren, Ho (1)



22. (C) Members of the Noda group (8 confirmed members)

Lower House (6)

Haraguchi, Kazuhiro (4)
Ichimura, Koichiro (2)
Matsumoto, Takeaki (3)
Noda, Yoshihiko (4)
Ogushi, Hiroshi (1)
Takemasa, Koichi (3)

Upper House (2)

Nagahama, Hiroyuki (1)
Shimba, Kazuya (2)

TOKYO 00001051 007.2 OF 007






23. (C) Members of the former Socialist Party group (18
confirmed members)

Lower House (7)

Akamatsu, Hirotaka (6)
Hachiro, Yoshio (6)
Hosokawa, Ritsuo (6)
Ikeda, Motohisa (5)
Koori, Kazuko (1)
Sasaki, Takahiro (1)
Yokomichi, Takahiro (9)

Upper House (11)

Chiba, Keiko (4)
Gunji, Akira (2)
Kamimoto, Mieko (2)
Koshiishi Azuma (2)
Matsuoka, Toru (1)
Mizuoka, Shunichi (1)
Nataniya, Masayoshi (1)
Sato, Taisuke (2)
Takashima, Yoshimitsu (2)
Tani, Hiroyuki (2)
Yamashita, Yasuo (2)



24. (C) Members of the former Democratic Socialist Party
group (22 confirmed members)

Lower House (6)

Banno, Yutaka (3)
Furumoto, Shinichiro (2)
Kawabata, Tatsuo (7)
Kodaira, Tadamasa (6)
Mikazuki, Taizo (2)
Takagi, Yoshiaki (6)

Upper House (16)

Asao, Keiichiro (2)
Fujiwara, Masashi (2)
Goto, Hitoshi (2)
Hirata, Kenji (3)
Ikeguchi, Shuji (2)
Kato, Toshiyuki (1)
Kobayashi, Masao (1)
Mitsui, Wakio (3)
Naoshima, Masayuki (3)
Ooe, Yasuhido (1)
Tsuda, Yataro (1)

SIPDIS
Tsuji, Yasuhiro (2)

SIPDIS
Watanabe, Hideo (2)
Yamane, Ryuji (2)
Yanada, Minoru (2)
Yanagisawa, Mitsuyoshi (1)
SCHIEFFER