Slices of Japanese business, politics and life
Often said to prefer to rule from the shadows, ruling party Secretary-General Ichiro Ozawa dominated the front pages of most of Japan’s major newspapers on Thursday, after giving Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama what reports said was a dressing down over government spending the previous day.
Ozawa and other party officials had presented Hatoyama and several cabinet ministers with a list of suggestions that included scaling back a key election promise to provide universal child allowances and abandoning a pledge to abolish an unpopular levy on gasoline.
When the mild-mannered Hatoyama took over the Democratic Party leadership in May, critics said he would amount to nothing more than a puppet of his brusque predecessor, Ozawa, seen by many as the architect of the party’s sweeping August election victory.
A poll in the conservative Sankei newspaper last month showed nearly 42 percent of respondents saw Ozawa as the most powerful man in the government, compared with just over 18 percent who picked Hatoyama. Ozawa also grabbed the spotlight when he led a recent delegation of more than 140 Democratic Party lawmakers on a trip to China to help improve ties.