The Democratic Party of Japan victory was large enough to leave a grin even on the face of “iron-armed” deputy leader Ichiro Ozawa.
The DPJ, favored since early in the campaign to win a firm majority in the Lower House, set up its base Sunday in the fashionable Laforet Museum in Roppongi, Tokyo, rather than the small DPJ headquarters building in the Nagata-cho district.
The party arranged more than 400 seats for both domestic and international reporters, many of whom let out a roar when early predictions reported an overwhelming margin of victory.
While the Liberal Democratic Party stuck to tradition and stayed in its undersized LDP building, the DPJ did not miss the opportunity to make known the triumph over its rivals, with at least 50 TV cameras gathered hours before the results came in.
Camera flashes went off as if the DPJ leaders were rock stars, and they took part in more than 40 interviews between 8 p.m. and midnight.
DPJ executives Ozawa and veteran Naoto Kan, who long dreamed of a change in government while staying in the opposition camp, were mostly all smiles, although some offered more sober expressions during TV interviews, apparently fearing that being too overjoyed could backfire with voters in next summer’s Upper House election.
DPJ President Yukio Hatoyama, who said the party will “remain humble even with the victory,” smiled briefly when acknowledging the elected candidates.
Though eyes will now turn toward how the party handles being in power, Hatoyama continued thanking voters for their support.
“I felt the public’s urge to change politics,” Hatoyama said, appearing calm on national broadcasts. “We must make this election a triumph for the public.”
He said he is optimistic the party can form a coalition with the Social Democratic Party and Kokumin Shinto (People’s New Party).
But Hatoyama vowed to weigh his decisions carefully, declining to float names for party executive and Cabinet posts.