Japan’s New PM Expected to Continue Outgoing Leader’s Policies

Posted August 29th, 2011 at 2:50 am (UTC-5)
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Finance Minister Yoshihiko Noda, who is set to become Japan's latest prime minister, is a steadfast supporter of outgoing Prime Minister Naoto Kan and is expected to continue Mr. Kan's policies.

Like the unpopular current prime minister, Mr. Noda supports tax reforms, including doubling the sales tax to pay for rising social security expenses and working to bring the national debt under control.

The 54-year-old Noda would be one of the youngest Japanese leaders in recent years, and there are hopes that his age might bring about a generational shift in Japanese politics.

After graduating from Waseda University's School of Political Science and Economics, Mr. Noda first entered parliament in 1993 as a member of the now defunct Japan New Party. He lost his seat in 1996 but returned to the Diet four years later as a member of the now-ruling Democratic Party of Japan.

Since then, he rose rapidly through the party ranks, served as the DPJ's Diet affairs chief and headed its public relations office.

Noda was named senior vice minister of finance when the DPJ took control of parliament in September 2009. He was elevated to finance minister nine months later when Mr. Kan became prime minister.