Ichiro Ozawa set to lose election for the first time since 1969

Reformer, kingmaker, shadow shogun, destroyer.

Ichiro Ozawa, 79, will now have one more moniker to his long list of nicknames: loser.

Ozawa on Sunday lost an election for the first time since entering politics in 1969, falling short in his Iwate No. 3 district, according to multiple media outlets. Ozawa was running for his 18th term.

It was unclear if Ozawa, who ran under the Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan’s banner, would still win a seat through the country’s proportional representation system.

The onetime “shadow shogun,” a skilled strategist and political operator, was arguably Japan’s most consequential and divisive politician during the Heisei Era, which began in 1989 and ended when Emperor Akihito abdicated in April 2019.

He started his political career in 1969 after winning a Lower House seat as a Liberal Democratic Party member. He became LDP’s secretary general, the party’s No. 2 position, at age of 47 but left the party in 1993.

Since then, Ozawa was involved with establishing multiple parties including the Democratic Party of Japan. As top executives, Ozawa played a major role in the DPJ to achieve a historic victory in the 2009 general election to end the LDP-led government, which had ruled more than half a century almost uninterrupted.

Ozawa bolted from the DPJ with his close allies and launched new parties, but his presence and influence seem to have been significantly waned in recent years.

Because he has eventually split up many parties that he was involved with, Ozawa has been nicknamed the “destroyer.”

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