Contrary to the expectations on Thursday, Environment Minister Goshi Hosono announced on Friday that he would not be running for president of the Democratic National Party (DPJ) later this month. Such a move would have him challenging the current party leader, Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda. Sources say that on Thursday, 41 year Hosono was asked by several DPJ lawmakers to try to run for election, as the party needs someone young to take charge and end the constant stalemate with the opposing Liberal Democratic Party (LDP).
On Friday morning, Hosono met with Prime Minister Noda, followed by a news conference, where he stated that it was important he remain in his current position. As the Environment Minister, he is currently responsible for overseeing the ongoing Fukushima nuclear crisis and well as its cleanup efforts. After serving in this position and making forward strides in the disaster recovery, Hosono says that it would be better he continue that management than to move on and have someone else takeover.
Hosono made a name for himself as one of the few Japanese politicians that stood strong and didn’t screw around during the March 2011 nuclear crisis. He earned his reputation by going to the headquarters of the Tokyo Electric Power Co (TEPCO), the utility company responsible for managing the Fukushima plant, and making sure they and the government had clear communication and worked together. He appeared in front of the public daily via televised news conferences, and was one of the few that actually worked towards transparency over what was really going on when there was widespread suspicion that TEPCO wasn’t telling the whole truth.
As of right now, there are no other DPJ members who have spoken up about leading the party. Prime Minister Noda is expected to announce his run for re-election later today. Campaigning is scheduled to start on September 14th, with the election decided on September 21st.