Japan’s New PM Picks Key Ruling Party Executives

Posted August 30th, 2011 at 4:55 pm (UTC-5)
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Japan's new Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda selected three key ruling party executives soon after being confirmed by parliament Tuesday.

Mr. Noda appointed Azuma Kashiiki a top Democratic Party lawmaker in the Upper House as his secretary-general.

He picked former chief Cabinet secretary Hirofumi Hirano as chairman of the Diet affairs committee.

And he tapped his rival in the party's presidential election, Seiji Maehara, as chairman of the party's policy research council.

The selection suggests that Mr. Noda is serious about his stated intention to improve the party's unity.

The former finance minister became Japan's sixth prime minister in the past five years after winning the Democratic Party leadership election Monday.

U.S. President Barack Obama Tuesday congratulated Mr. Noda on his election and pledged to work with him on economic and security issues. In a statement, Mr. Obama said that for the past century, U.S.-Japan alliance has served as the linchpin of peace and security in the Asia Pacific region.

Mr. Noda takes over during one of Japan's most difficult times since the 1945 defeat in World War Two. The new prime minister is tasked with improving Japan's stagnant economy, speeding up the nation's recovery from the March earthquake and tsunami, and ending the nuclear crisis caused by the disaster-crippled Fukushima power plant.

Mr. Noda told reporters Tuesday that he expected to fill out a slate of ruling party and cabinet posts in time for his swearing-in as prime minister later this week.