chapter  21
22 Pages

Ozawa Ichirō: the Making of a Japanese Kingmaker

C omparisons are invidious. Let us make a few: Born on 24May 1942, Ozawa Ichiro is post-war Japan's answer to Talleyrand. Like the servant ofalmost every French government from the Revolutionary Directory to the restoration of the monarchy after Napoleon, Ozawa is a great political survivor. Nursed on the no-nonsense 'democracy-is-about-numbers' logic ofthe era ofTanaka Kakuei, Ozawa would later playa key role in bringing Tanaka's reign to an end, thus securing the premiership for the eternally patient Takeshita Noboru. Ozawa helped to make and then break Kaifu Toshiki, ensuring that the latter's exposure to the politics of prime ministerial impotence was mercifully brief Ozawa buffeted and then defeated the hapless regime of Miyazawa Kiichi in 1993.