Ozawa Ichirō is one of the most important figures in Japanese politics, having held the positions of Chief Secretary of the Liberal Democrat Party and, after defection from the LDP, President of the Democratic Party of Japan. Ozawa has distinctive ideas that set him apart from the average Japanese politician, he believes in the concept of the independence of the individual, as opposed to the importance of the group, and as a policy entrepreneur he has had a huge impact on political change not only advocating but precipitating institutional change in a key political area – the election system.
Using extensive interview data from key players in the political arena, this book examines Ozawa's struggle to normalize alternation in office between two competing
political parties – particularly significant given the results of the 2009 election which handed over power to the Democratic Party of Japan – and how he has used his entrepreneurial talents to precipitate and carry out institutional change.
Not only a political biography, but also an in-depth analysis of the Japanese political and electoral systems, this book will be of huge interest to anyone interested in Japanese politics and electoral systems.
'The first biography in English of Ichiro Ozawa, former leader of the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ)… The book traces Mr. Ozawa's career from his birth, the beginning of his political career, and his relationship with former Prime Minister Tanaka Kakuei, and analyzes whether he was motivated by a desire for political power or by the pursuit of specific policies. Regarding the greatest motivating factors for Mr. Ozawa's political moves, the book mentions the thirst for power attributed to him by most media, but concludes that the strongest motives were policy-driven. As an example, the book cites Ozawa's refusal in October 1994 to accept the prime ministership when it was offered to him. During the past twenty years, the book says, Ozawa had many failures, and his successes were few and far between. Still, the book gives credit to Mr. Ozawa for bringing about the DPJ's landslide victory in the general election of August 30 2009.
The book mentions the process by which a citizens' panel indicted Mr. Ozawa as the defendant in a criminal trial, but says that if Mr. Ozawa wins a "Not guilty" verdict, he will still have a chance to become prime minister.' Yoshihisa Komori, Sankei Shimbun,22nd June 2011
1 “Normal Nation”: Ozawa’s Challenge to Japanese Exceptionalism 2 Early Years and Shaping Influences 3 The Kaifu-Ozawa Regime and the First Gulf War 4 Blueprint: Ozawa’s Policy Manifesto 5 1993: the Election that Opened a New Political Era 6 Case Study One: Changing the Election System 7 Case Study Two: Changing Parliamentary Procedures 8 The Koizumi Phenomenon and Ozawa’s Response 9 Koizumi’s Triumph: the Landmark Election of 2005 10 The House of Councilors Election of 2007 11 The International Policies of a “Normal Nation” 12 Conclusion: Ozawa’s Impact on Japanese Politics