Noda elected to succeed Kan


Finance Minister Yoshihiko Noda

TOKYO (majirox news) – Finance Minister Yoshihiko Noda was elected president of the ruling Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) on Aug. 29, paving the way for him to succeed Naoto Kan as Japan’s prime minister.

Noda defeated Economy, Trade and Industry Minister Banri Kaieda in a run-off vote after they topped the first round of voting by the DPJ’s 398 Diet members, which failed to come up with a majority among the five candidates.

Popular favorite, former Foreign Minister Seiji Maehara, finished a distant third and dropped out of the race.

Noda will, courtesy of the DPJ’s majority in the House of Representatives, succeed Kan in a Lower House vote scheduled for Tuesday. Kan resigned from the DPJ leadership on Friday.

Noda, the only one of the five candidates to advocate raising taxes to pay for the costs of recovery from the March 11 disasters, defeated Kaieda after garnering the support of party moderates who feared the influence of former DPJ leader Ichiro Ozawa.

Ozawa, whose voting rights were suspended due to a political funding scandal, heads the party’s biggest faction and threw its support behind Kaieda.

Noda, 54, a native of Chiba prefecture and graduate of prestigious Waseda University, is likely to maintain the ruling party’s efforts to reduce Japan’s dependence on nuclear power generation, which Kan made Cabinet policy. Noda was first elected to the Diet in 1993, but lost his seat three years later. He returned to the Diet in 2000 and rose to replace Kan as Finance Minister in June last year.

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