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Aso and Hatoyama’s First Political Battle

May 27, 2009

Earlier in the year Mr. Ozawa, the leader of the main opposition party in Japan called The Democratic Party of Japan or DPJ, resigned. Although Mr. Ozawa of the DPJ didn’t directly admit it, his resignation was probably influenced by the Nishimatsu Construction scandal, where his secretary was accused of embezzling money. Since the DPJ has elected a new leader, Mr. Hatoyama, to lead them into battle over the snap election that is highly rumored to take place this summer. The first confrontation between Prime Minister Aso and Representative Hatoyama took place last night on the floor of the Diet. Each newspaper took sides.

AsahiHatoyama is a Man of the People” The opening paragraph of a political article gives the background, and the second paragraph tells who the newspaper thinks was victorious. The Asahi, reporting on the commentary about “Money and Politics”, quoted Hatoyama in their second paragraph: “While Prime Minister Aso’s power is bureaucratic, the DPJ is a party where we derive our power from the national populace, the local citizen, and the everyday average person.” The Asahi doesn’t even mention Aso’s response until their third paragraph, where they claim “his response was abstract, and commented about the financial crisis and the North Korean problem.”

Nikkei “The Prime Minister Calls for Responsibility” While the Asahi focused on the articulate words of Hatoyama and his criticisms of bureaucratic power, the Nikkei reported the “Political Battle” between Hatoyama and Aso was a battle over the Nishimatsu Construction scandal. The politician they quoted first was Prime Minister Aso, who called upon Hatoyama and his party by asking, “ Do you think you’ve really taken full responsibility for the construction scandal?” The Nikkei then reported Hatoyama’s response, in a much less articulate way than Asahi: “The Prime Minister’s power is bureaucratic. We’ll like to change that power, and create a power by the people.”

Yomiuri “Hatoyama Accuses the Prime Minister” The Yomiuri, although reporting the words of Prime Minister Aso first, seems to favor the DPJ’s Hatoyama. They claim the Prime Minister said, “Changing political power just for the sake of changing is not a policy.” Hatoyama retorted, “Our purpose is not to change political power suddenly. Today is a starting line.” Hatoyama’s first question was then, in regards to the nuclear test by North Korea, “Did you, Prime Minister, get advanced warning from the U.S.?” The Prime Minister replied, “America always gives us news as soon as possible.” He then slightly corrected himself, “This type of thing is becoming an issue of the past.”

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