Regarding the Sentaku Magazine article published in The Japan Times on Nov. 16 under the headline “Does Ozawa run the show as Hatoyama foots the bill?“: Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama has long been known by informed members of the Japanese electorate as a weak and ineffectual leader during his numerous incarnations in leadership positions for the Democratic Party of Japan.

Incidentally, Hatoyama has always footed the bill for the DPJ. It was a portion of the Hatoyama family fortune that was used to found the party in 1996.

The DPJ scored a resounding victory in the 2009 Lower House election mainly because people desperately craved change after a succession of three Liberal Democratic Party one-year prime ministers whom they had no voice in putting into office.

The article expounds on the many inconsistencies of the Hatoyama administration thus far, especially its misguided backtracking on the U.S.-Japan accord to realign U.S. military forces in Japan. However, a more worrisome problem for the DPJ should be its hedging on the campaign promise to provide monthly allowances to families with children until they finish junior high school, irrespective of the family’s income level. If the DPJ reneges on this campaign pledge, its approval ratings will plummet and it will find a voting public waiting to exact revenge at the polls in the next election.

patrick hattman