Current Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda stated today that former premier, and member of the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ), Yukio Hatoyama would be leaving the party prior to next month’s general election, and retiring from politics altogether. Leading up to the decision, 65 year old Hatoyama was already unhappy with the DPJ’s direction and Noda’s commitment to joining the Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade agreement.
Hatoyama was the first prime minister from the DPJ when the party gained power in 2009, however he only served for nine months. He was also one of the leading figures of the party when it was established in 1998. In regards to his opposition to the party’s current policies, Hatoyama told his followers that his views were far too different these days, and that he didn’t have any choice but to leave. In previous years he was seen as somewhat of an oddball, with the Japanese media giving him the nickname “The Alien” for his wide-eyed expressions, as well as his spirituality-interested wife, Miyuki, who claimed she once visited the planet Venus on a triangular spaceship, and met Tom Cruise in a previous life.
The former prime minister has a personal wealth reaching into the millions. He is recognized for coming from a family with powerful political and business connections, including a grandfather who served as prime minister once, and another who founded tire manufacturing giant Bridgestone. When he took the seat in 2009, he was seen by the public as someone who would bring the change the DPJ had promised in its campaign pledges, however that reputation quickly diminished when he changed his stance on removing one the controversial U.S. military bases in Okinawa.