Japanese FinMin to Be Confirmed PM after Party Race Win

World | August 29, 2011, Monday // 14:54|  views

Japanese Finance Minister Yoshihiko Noda speaks with the press after winning the DPJ leader election in Tokyo. Noda is scheduled to become the new PM of Japan during a Parliament vote on August 30. Photo by BGNES

Japanese Finance Minister, Yoshihiko Noda, has been chosen by the ruling Democratic Party (DPJ) as its leader, paving the way for him to become the country's new Prime Minister.

After PM Naoto Kan announced his resignation Friday, Japan now stands to have its sixth PM in five years.

Kan, 64, resigned over enduring staggering criticism for failing to show leadership after the devastating March11 earthquake and tsunami, and handling the nuclear crisis triggered by the follow-up damage at the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant, NPP.

Noda secured victory in a run-off against Trade Minister, Banri Kaieda, with 215 to 177 votes. The first-round vote did not lead to a clear majority for any candidate.

Noda, 54, is expected to be confirmed by the Parliament as PM Tuesday.

Supporters of public favorite, Seiji Maehara - the former foreign minister who was eliminated in first-round voting - endorsed Noda in the second ballot, BBC reports Monday.

BBC correspondents are quoted saying the new PM, who is known as a fiscal conservative, will face a daunting agenda, including trying to unify a divided party and deal with a stagnant economy.

Large parts of Japan need to be rebuilt after March's earthquake and tsunami, and the crisis at the Fukushima NPP still needs to be resolved.

Noda has said in the past that he favors raising funds through increased taxation - including a doubling of Japan's sales tax, which currently stands at 5% - to cut debt and meet social security commitments.

Unlike Kan, he wants Japan's halted nuclear reactors to be restarted and has not backed calls for a nuclear-free Japan.

The public's favorite candidate Maehara, would have become Japan's youngest leader since World War II if elected.

Agriculture Minister, Michihiko Kano, and former Transport Minister, Sumio Mabuchi, were also in the leadership contest.

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Tags: finance minister, Yoshihiko Noda, Democratic Party, DPJ, Trade Minister, Banri Kaieda, Seiji Maehara, Japanese, PM, Naoto Kan, resigned, resignation, criticism, Earthquake, Japan, tsunami, Fukushima, nuclear disaster, NPP


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