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Hatoyama to lead Japan opposition


Japan’s leading opposition party on Saturday chose as its new president Yukio Hatoyama, a blue-blooded former leader who was backed by his scandal-hit predecessor, Ichiro Ozawa.

In an election restricted to the Democratic party of Japan’s 221 sitting members of parliament, fourth-generation politician Mr Hatoyama beat rival Katsuya Okada by 124 votes to 95 to win the chance to lead the DPJ into a potentially pivotal general election expected to be held by autumn at the latest.

Supporters of Mr Hatoyama, who was the DPJ’s president from 1999 to 2002 and its second most powerful official when a fund-raising scandal forced Mr Ozawa’s resignation this month, say he is a safe pair of hands well prepared to maintain unity in the often fractious party.

Opinion polls show that rival Mr Okada, a 55-year old policy expert with a “Mr Clean” reputation, is considerably more popular among voters and ordinary DPJ members, while the LDP will be keen to portray Mr Hatoyama, 62, as no more than a puppet for his predecessor.

predecessor 前任者

pivotal 中枢の,重要な

fractious 気難しい,すねた

a safe pair of hands 「ミスがない人」「やることにそつがない人」

portray 〔…として〕描く

keen 〈感情・興味が〉強い、鋭い

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