Tokyo: Having defeated political heavyweight and party challenger Ichiro Ozawa, Japanese prime minister Naoto Kan now faces the sticky task of tackling a long list of woes afflicting his country.
Leading Japanese daily, The Asahi Shimbun, one of the oldest existing newspapers in the world, points out in a pre-result analysis that the first dilemma confronting Kan will be one of distancing himself from Ozawa as per his promise when Ozawa was indicted in a corruption scandal last year. Any backtracking on his original stance will pose a credibility problem for the prime minister, who has to reconcile his principled stance against the political reality that Ozawa is no political pushover and that he did garner support from 200 Democratic Party Diet members as against his own 216.
Ozawa's supporters will need to be accommodated in cabinet positions – maybe even Ozawa himself.
Once he secures party unity after accommodating the Ozawa faction, Kan needs to address the issue of getting budget–related legislation passed through the Upper House of the Diet where opposition parties control a majority.
Kan has said he would discuss issues with the opposition in a bid to reach consensus. His intention to seek consensus may be laudable but party members, according to Asahi Shimbun, are doubtful if it will work.
When he took over last year Kan had said Japan was at ''risk of collapse'' under its huge debt mountain and that the country needed a financial restructuring to avert a Greece-style crisis.