• Kyodo


The Washington Post sarcastically asked the Japanese ruling party Saturday to take a “multicellular view” when they choose the next party leader Tuesday, referring to a recent remark by party kingpin Ichiro Ozawa that Americans are “somewhat unicellular.”

In an editorial titled ” ‘Simple-minded’ Americans might want to pay attention to Japan’s election,” the U.S. daily said the choice between Prime Minister Naoto Kan, the incumbent president of the Democratic Party of Japan, and Ozawa is consequential for the United States as the winner will automatically become prime minister of the long-time U.S. ally.

“Exactly what governing philosophy Mr. Ozawa would bring to the job is hard to say, because his professed ideologies have mutated over the years. But in his current incarnation he is less friendly to the U.S.-Japan alliance, and more attracted to China’s dictatorship, than most Japanese leaders — and, according to polls, than most Japanese,” it said.

The daily also touched on Ozawa’s remarks that he would reopen negotiations with Washington over the realignment of U.S. forces in Okinawa.

“Allowing the U.S.-Japanese relationship again to be consumed by the base realignment — which Japan has now agreed to, twice — would set back any hopes for the countries to make progress on other important issues,” it said.

The Wall Street Journal also carried a long article on Ozawa the same day. It introduces his political career, along with four photographs of the former DPJ secretary general holding talks with former British Prime Minister John Major, Chinese President Hu Jintao, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and U.S. State Secretary Hillary Clinton, respectively, between 1996 and 2009.

The U.S. daily said even Ozawa’s defeat in the DPJ leadership race “could be consequential.”

“A strong second-place showing could bring a newly influential role to Mr. Ozawa — or, if he didn’t gain one, lead to a defection from the party by supporters, changing the political dynamic,” it said.

The 68-year-old politician said during a political seminar he organized in Tokyo late August, “I like Americans, but they are somewhat uniellular.”

“Unicellular” is a Japanese expression used to describe people who tend to have simplistic views.

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