Akihiro Ota is the leader of the New Komeito Party, the junior coalition partner of Prime Minister Taro Aso and the LDP in the Lower House of the Japanese Diet.
Born in 1945 in Aichi Prefecture near Toyohashi, Hatoyama is a graduate of Kyoto University and was elected to the House of Representatives in 1993 after an unsuccessful attempt in 1990. On his personal website Ota lists Mahatma Gandhi and Katsu Kaishu (1823-1899) as his political heroes and reading, sports and ceramic art as his hobbies.
The New Komeito Party ("New Clean Government Party" or NKP) is backed by the rather murky Soka Gakkai Buddhist organization and can count on the huge voter base of Soka Gakkai members, somewhere in the region of 10 million followers in Japan.
Soka Gakkai, a lay Buddhist movement, is based on earlier Nichiren Buddhism and came into being in the 1930s. The movement's leader is Daisuke Ikeda and attracts adherents overseas.
Komeito's policies in its manifesto include support for the elimination of nuclear weapons, trimming the bloated Japanese bureaucracy and devolving more powers to the regions. However, Komeito's main political aim is self-preservation and to remain in power itself and the party may well jump ship and seek to form a coalition with the DPJ if Yukio Hatoyama and his party wins the upcoming general election.
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Monday, July 27, 2009