Kawashima is due to fly to Scotland this week to finally sign a deal withUnited after the SFA last week voted in favour of the 72-times capped player being granted a Home Office work permit.
Paatelainen, whose bottom-of-the-table side slipped eight points behind second-bottom Kilmarnock in the wake of Saturday’s 1-0 home defeat by Partick Thistle, is looking for big characters as they battle to beat the drop – and he is sure 32-year-old Kawashima is in that mould.
Paatelainen, who could hand Kawashima a debut at Inverness on Saturday, said: “He’ll come to the squad first and foremost to compete for a place.
“Michal [Szromnik] has done well, there’s no doubt about that. I don’t think there have been goals when we’ve blamed him at all. As for Eiji, he is quality. He is very agile and quick. He commands and is a leader behind the defence. He talks a lot and sometime sdemands better action from the defenders. This is something we will welcome.
“He’s not a quiet person. His English is perfect. I think it’s important to have different types of characters in the dressing room. You want loud ones, crazy guys.
“If it’s just quiet and doom and gloom and everyone is so serious – and nobody cracks a joke or does something crazy now and again – it’s not what you want.
“Things need livened up as it puts everyone in an upbeat mood.”