Kan defeats Ozawa for DPJ President.

Japan Today (Kyodo News) coverage here.

The final tally turned out to be 721 731 721 for Prime Minister Kan and 491 for Mr Ozawa. This result is a bit surprising, since the major news outlets, particularly Bloomberg, had been reporting a close race among the elected officials.

How the voting worked was that there were 1,222 points. DPJ government officials votes earned 2 points, and certain party members, like regional officials in the party, got one point.

The media was reporting that Kan and Ozawa were running at about 190 elected officials a piece. So each would get 380 points from these. Some of the office holders were undecided, maybe 30 as of this weekend. So out of the total 855 points or so that might come from elected officials, it was neck-and-neck between Kan and Ozawa. A wash.

So the contest was really fought out among the regular party members, if the elected officials stuck with their camps. And there, it sounds like Kan and the Seven Mandarin group had overwhelming support. So Kan won.

The fact that people were saying that the contest was even close had me stumped. Political analysts had tied former Prime Minister Hatoyama (September 2009 – June 2010) to Ozawa. Many people felt that Ozawa was pulling the strings over the past year. So the idea that somehow Ozawa needed to be given the chance sounded a little silly. Via Hatoyama, Ozawa already was having plenty of say. It’s just I don’t think his program, his agenda, of sitting in the background and cutting and re-cutting deals with different power brokers was what the public expected from Minshuto. Then, when it got to trying to do the same thing at the international level (deal with China, break deals with America), it became quite a game of three-dimensional chess.

So here’s to Kan Naoto. I’m glad to see that the Minshuto Party is going to give him and the Mandarins more of a chance than just three months . . .