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The Head of Japan’s Opposition Party Resigns

May 11, 2009

Representative Ozawa of the Democratic Party of Japan announced his resignation today. The DPJ, or Democratic Party of Japan, has gained unprecedented political prominence in recent years. Just earlier this year it was highly rumored that the DPJ was going to unseat the ruling party, the LDP or Liberal Democratic Party, for the first time since the Second World War. Then, amidst  a scandal where Ozawa’s secretary was accepting illegal campaign contributions, Ozawa and the DPJ abruptly started losing public favor. Each newspaper took a slightly different account of Ozawa’s resignation speech and how they viewed his departure from power.

Asahi A Political Soldier, “I did it for the Unification of my Party”. The Asahi reports that Ozawa’s main focus in his resignation was to unify his party, and continue the political battle. It’s almost made to seem as if a soldier has just retired from the battlefront. “Not only am I doing this to pave the way for a transition of power, but beyond that I’m doing this for sake of political solidarity.” The Asahi then adds that Ozawa still feels that “winning the snap election is of the utmost importance. I will continue along with my party to fight till the end.”

Nikkei A Vulnerable Threat, “The Party was Unstable”.  The Nikkei focused on very different commentary than the Asahi for why Ozawa resigned. Their summary of the commentary states “I was the focus of attack from the media, and my departure will hopefully smooth things out and give the party the framework to work together to continue the political battle.” The Nikkei makes it seem as if Ozawa was the weakest link, rather than a strong soldier. The most interesting commentary is the words from Ozawa where he admits “My party was unstable. I couldn’t let this instability go on any longer.”

Yomiuri A Weathered Politician, “It was decided on vacation”. Interestingly enough, Yomiuri was the only newspaper that reported Ozawa’s commentary on when he decided to leave his position of power. “I decided to leave during my vacation, when I had time to sit down and think.” Although the Yomiuri also adds in comments about how Ozawa will continue to fight on within his own party, the nuance is slightly different. They add these comments after he states “I decided on my vacation”, making it seem as if his influence within the party might wane quickly.

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