Hatoyama and Ozawa are going to need those small parties

Japan Times link – rifts surface between DPJ and coalition partners

Like I mentioned the other day, the DPJ does not have a majority of the Japanese parliament Upper House. This means they are going to have to rely on votes of minor parties in order to get legislation passed.

It was one thing when LDP controlled the Lower House, but did not have a majority of the Upper House. Then, the DPJ (also with less than 50%) could join in with the other opposition parties and block things.

Now, however, DPJ will be the overwhelming Lower House majority party. But will still have less than 50% of the Upper House. So it will have to attract the minor parties to get legislation passed there.

The minor parties understand this well. And so for the next several weeks, you are probably going to hear about what these parties want. For example Kokumin Shino (People’s New Party), which was founded in part against Koizumi’s postal privatization, is probably going to want to see a rollback of some of that privatization. More than what the DPJ has already said they would do.

Mizuho Fukushima’s Social Democratic Party (the “old” Socialists from the 1990’s, but not the old-old ones) have already raised their concern about using the Japanese miitary (“Self Defense Forces”) outside of its express purpose to defend Japan. So that party wants to kill off the refueling agreement with the States.

To me, that looks like a token effort in the grand scheme of things. It’s not like the U.S. can’t refuel its own ships and maybe get help from the Japanese in some other area of Pacific defense. In the end, it is like arguing about the dinner bill.

I am more surprised that Fukushima isn’t jockeying to be made Minister of Labor or something. You would think that a red-rose Social Democratic Party would have wage issues in the forefront. But, again, this is Japan.

The Communists don’t seem to be in there for anything. But they have seven seats in the Upper House, and if they are a “democratic” style Communist party (as opposed to a social revolution one), you would think they would cut deals. Worldwide communism was widely discredited with the publishing of the Gulag Archipelago in 1973, so you would think these guys would be hustling a bit to put the Communists back in the game.

Naming Ozawa as General Secretary is one move to help the DPJ solidify a gain in the upper chamber in 2010. But in the meantime, they are going to have to rely on people outside the party to pass any laws.