Yukio Hatoyama, leader of the Democratic Party of Japan, was elected party president for a second term at a party convention Saturday in Tokyo, pledging to establish a new DPJ-led government after the Upper House elections next summer.
Hatoyama’s uncontested campaign for the presidency was approved at the convention, held at a Tokyo hotel, granting him another two-year term as head of the largest opposition party.
“This time, I am setting out amid a violent storm,” Hatoyama, 53, said after confirming his re-election, referring to recent allegations of fraud involving former DPJ lawmaker Joji Yamamoto.
“I have to acutely realize my responsibility for what has happened,” he said.
Hatoyama told the convention that the mission imposed on him is clear. “It is to realize a DPJ-led government which can create a Japan for the 21st century,” he said.
Last month, public relations chief Yoko Komiyama and deputy policy affairs chief Takashi Kawamura attempted to challenge Hatoyama in the presidential election, but had failed to gather the minimum number of supporters required — 20 DPJ politicians — to be nominated on the presidential roster.
Naoto Kan, 53, a former DPJ president who was replaced by Hatoyama in the party’s last presidential race a year ago, has made it clear that he will fully support Hatoyama this time.
Apparently trying to refute the criticism that he lacks leadership, Hatoyama implemented a drastic reshuffle of the party’s executives by selecting Kan as the DPJ’s secretary general.
Kan’s promotion, which was also approved at the convention, seems to be a clear demonstration of a shift in Hatoyama’s thinking.
With the Upper House elections only 10 months away — and the results of which could overturn the Liberal Democratic Party-led coalition government — Hatoyama is determined to put priority on an election victory next year over reconciling differences of opinion within the party.
Tsutomu Hata, Kan’s predecessor and the senior party member handed the role of mediator among the lawmakers within the often disparate party since its launch two years ago, will be given an honorary post despite his desire to remain as secretary general.
The replacement of Hata, 65, with Kan and other personnel changes, including the appointment of Katsuya Okada, 47, as policy affairs chief
and Hirotaka Akamatsu, 52, as Diet affairs chief, is seen as a symbol of a generational change, which Hatoyama has been demanding.
The DPJ made considerable gains in the House of Representatives election in June, increasing the number of its seats in the house from 95 to 127.
The Democratic Party of Japan will announce the party’s unified position on amending the Constitution before his two-year term as president ends, Yukio Hatoyama told the press after being re-elected Saturday.
“I am asking (the party’s Constitutional research council) to send out the DPJ’s message during my term,” Hatoyama told a news conference. “It won’t be a draft of items to be revised but a (unified) thought as the DPJ. (The council is) working on it.”
Regarding the issue of national security, Hatoyama maintained that he will “not immediately” deny the U.S. military a presence in Japan or scrap Japan’s existing security pact with the U.S.
He added, however, “But I would like to make it a national consensus that (the presence of the U.S. military in Japan) will not last eternally.”
During a one-hour speech at the party convention earlier in the day, Hatoyama said, “It is only natural that a nation that relies on another nation for its own safety cannot nurture sound patriotism nor logical diplomacy.”
Hatoyama also urged the Japanese to be more patriotic and play a greater role in the international community.
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