Wednesday, September 16, 2009


PM cements Japan power shift Yukio Hatoyama's victory ended a half-century of LDP dominance
Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama promised economic revival and strong US ties, hours after taking office.
In a news conference, he vowed to deliver a "people-oriented society", quick economic improvements and frank but trusting ties with Washington.
Mr Hatoyama's Democratic Party of Japan won a huge poll victory last month, ending 50 years of almost unbroken Liberal Democratic Party rule.
His untested government now faces tough economic and social challenges.
The new cabinet will be sworn in by Emperor Akihito later in the day.
Former DPJ leader Katsuya Okada becomes foreign minister and Hirohisa Fujii, a veteran bureaucrat, takes over as finance minister.
Another former DPJ leader, Naoto Kan, will head a new National Strategy Bureau set up to oversee the bureaucracy. He also becomes deputy prime minister.
The defeated LDP, meanwhile, will hold an election later this month to choose its new leader, after former Prime Minister Taro Aso stepped down.
The DPJ has entered into a coalition deal with two smaller parties, the Social Democratic Party and the People's New Party, and controls both houses of parliament.
Its priorities now include tackling a rapidly ageing society and an economy still struggling after a brutal recession.


The DPJ, which has never held government before, is taking over the world's second biggest economy
New PM Yukio Hatoyama is a political blue-blood but largely unknown outside Japan
He is nicknamed the 'alien', and his wife claims to have travelled to Venus in a UFO
DPJ promises to increase spending on health and childcare, but without increasing taxes
Other pledges include climate cuts, better ties with Asia and a more "equal" alliance with the US

"I want to the people to feel that their pocketbook situation is improving, even a little, as soon as possible," Mr Hatoyama said.
He has promised to increase social welfare spending, cut government waste and rein in the powerful bureaucracy.
''Now is the time to practise politics that are not controlled by bureaucrats,'' he said.
On foreign policy, he said ties with the US were a priority.
But he said he wanted a relationship in which Japan "can act more proactively and tell them our opinions frankly", adding that his party's position on reviewing deals relating to the US troop presence had not changed.
The DPJ was elected as a wave of discontent with LDP rule swept across Japan.
Opinion polls have shown many people did not vote for the DPJ because of their policies - but because they wanted change.
Analysts say the electorate will be watching the DPJ closely in the next few weeks and months to see if it can deliver.
The BBC's Roland Buerk, in Tokyo, says that in defeating the LDP, Yukio Hatoyama has already achieved what many people thought for years was impossible.
But now the difficult part - governing Japan - begins, our correspondent says.



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