Japan’s governing party elected Finance Minister Yoshihiko Noda to become the next prime minister on Monday, choosing a relative political unknown to lead this shaken nation’s recovery from the tsunami and nuclear accident in March, and revive its moribund economy.
It was a surprise victory for Mr. Noda, who had been seen running a distant third before Monday’s internal vote by the Democratic Party. During the campaign, Mr. Noda ran largely on economic issues, presenting himself as a pro-business, fiscal conservative who could rein in Japan’s ballooning national debt while taming the soaring yen and battling crippling price declines known as deflation.
However, political analysts said his victory was as much about seeking a fresh start for the Democratic Party, which has floundered since taking power in a historic election two years ago. The choice of Mr. Noda, who has no large power base within the party, and is not one of the Democrats’ original founding members, appeared to be an effort to move beyond deep divisions that have undermined the party.
Read the rest of the story: Finance Minister Is Chosen as Japan’s Next Leader
Campaigning for the Democratic Party of Japans presidential election officially kicked off Saturday, with five candidates vying to succeed Prime Minister Naoto Kan.Former Foreign Minister Seiji Maehara, ex-transport minister Sumio Mabuchi, trade minister Banri Kaieda, Finance Minister Yoshihiko Noda and farm minister Michihiko Kano have just two days to win over the partys 398 Diet members, who will vote Monday morning.Because Kans two-year term as party president is not slated to end until September 2012, the partys local assembly members and registered supporters are not allowed to participate in the vote.The new party chief is expected to be appointed prime minister as early as Tuesday.
Read the rest of the story: Five face off over policies ahead of poll.
Japan’s ruling Democratic Party formally kicked off a leadership race to pick the next prime minister on Saturday, with no clear winner among five candidates in sight, as the country confronts a series of economic and energy ills.
The race to select Japan’s sixth leader in five years is shaping up as a battle between allies and critics of party powerbroker Ichiro Ozawa, a 69-year-old political mastermind who still wields clout despite facing trial on charges of misreporting political donations.
The successor to Prime Minister Naoto Kan, who resigned on Friday as Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) leader after months of criticism of his response to the March tsunami and the nuclear crisis it triggered, faces a mountain of challenges.
Read the rest of the story: Japan PM race begins with no winner in sight.
A former top diplomat vying to become the next prime minister proposed Saturday that Japan stop building new nuclear power plants after the Fukushima disaster and phase out atomic energy over 40 years.
Former Foreign Minister Seiji Maehara took the clearest stand against nuclear power at a news conference where five ruling Democratic party members outlined their policy goals in their campaign to replace Prime Minister Naoto Kan, who announced Friday he is stepping down.
The ruling party will vote Monday to pick a new party chief, who will then become prime minister – Japans sixth in five years.
Read the rest of the story: Nuclear power key topic in close Japan leader race.