Hatoyama becomes prime minister, vowing to end bureaucrat-led politics
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34 / M / Toronto, Canada
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Posted 9/16/09
Hatoyama becomes prime minister, vowing to end bureaucrat-led politics

Wednesday 16th September, 08:28 PM JST

TOKYO —

Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama launched his cabinet on Wednesday, bringing an end to the Liberal Democratic Party’s almost total control of Japanese politics over the past 54 years, aiming to reduce bureaucratic power in policy-making and revive the world’s second-largest economy.

The coalition government of Hatoyama’s Democratic Party of Japan, the Social Democratic Party and the People’s New Party is the first government to be led by a party other than the Liberal Democratic Party in the past 16 years. The LDP had governed Japan since its founding in 1955, except for a period of about 11 months from 1993 to 1994.

‘‘I feel thrilled and excited and am strongly aware that I bear the grave responsibility of changing Japan to a people-oriented nation,’’ the new Japanese leader said at his first press conference in Tokyo.

On the DPJ’s promises, the DPJ chief said the coalition would place priority on economy-boosting measures such as allowances for families with children and scrapping gasoline taxes, while thoroughly reviewing the economic steps and budgets adopted by the LDP-led coalition for any wasteful spending.

But analysts believe that a big challenge facing the DPJ-led coalition will be policy coordination with the two minor parties, whose positions, notably those of the SDP on foreign and national security issues, differ from the DPJ.

The SDP has sought a drastic reexamination of the Japan-U.S. Status of Forces Agreement and the deployment of U.S. forces in Japan, whereas the DPJ is unwilling to take a tough stance with Washington ahead of a meeting between Hatoyama and U.S. President Barack Obama expected next week, as its pledge to be more independent of the United States has already raised eyebrows among officials in Washington.

‘‘I have no intention of changing our basic stance and it is true that our coalition accord says it will make efforts toward a review of the SOFA as well as U.S. forces in Japan, but I believe that this visit should focus on nurturing bilateral relations of trust,’’ Hatoyama said.

’’What is most important is to enhance the sense of trust through frank exchanges of opinions,’’ Hatoyama said. ‘‘And I think it is important that we take some time to implement a comprehensive review of various outstanding issues between Japan and the United States and security matters.’’

Hatoyama is expected to fly to the United States next week to attend the U.N. General Assembly in New York and the Group of 20 financial summit in Pittsburgh. Bilateral meetings are expected to be held on the sidelines.

Noting that Japan has tended to be ‘‘passive’’ in its relations with the United States until now, Hatoyama also said, ‘‘We want to build a relationship in which Japan, from an active stance, can speak straightforwardly about what we are thinking.’’

On his idea of an East Asian Community, Hatoyama said that what lies beyond it should be the idea of an ‘‘Asia-Pacific Community’’ and noted that he does not think that everything can be achieved without cooperation from the United States.

The untested DPJ also faces a bumpy road ahead because of its fuzzy financial policy as well as campaign-fund scandals involving Hatoyama as well as party Secretary General Ichiro Ozawa.

‘‘I would like to make efforts to fully explain (the case),’’ Hatoyama said at the press conference, apologizing to the public for causing confusion.

Earlier on Wednesday, both the House of Representatives and the House of Councillors elected Hatoyama as the new prime minister by majority votes. Hirofumi Hirano, Hatoyama’s top aide named by the prime minister as chief cabinet secretary, announced the lineup of Hatoyama’s cabinet.

Hatoyama has appointed former Finance Ministry bureaucrat Hirohisa Fujii as finance minister, former DPJ Secretary General Katsuya Okada as foreign minister, and DPJ Acting President Naoto Kan as minister in charge of the planned National Strategy Bureau—a new body to be set up to lay out budgets and basic policies.

The DPJ, which called for greater power for elected officials over bureaucrats in policymaking and promised to do away with wasteful spending in its campaign platform, secured 308 of the 480 seats in the lower house in the Aug 30 election, trouncing the LDP-New Komeito party coalition.

The 11-year-old DPJ is a conglomerate of LDP defectors, former socialists as well as 143 novice lawmakers—most of whom won their Diet seats for the first time under the guidance of election strategist Ozawa—meaning that it lacks seasoned politicians with expertise on steering the economy out of a longstanding recession.

In its manifesto, the DPJ promised to put more money in the hands of consumers by offering child allowances and scrapping expressway tolls. It said the steps could be bankrolled by cutting back on wasteful use of taxpayers’ money and without raising the nation’s consumption tax from the current 5 percent.

But analysts are skeptical over whether the party will be able to secure enough funds to implement such promises, while also noting that the DPJ’s election victory and public expectations for the new ruling coalition have put the scandals in the shade.

Ozawa, former DPJ acting president, on Tuesday succeeded Okada as secretary general, the party’s No. 2 post, taking charge of day-to-day party affairs and elections.

SDP chief Mizuho Fukushima was appointed minister in charge of consumer affairs, the declining birthrate, food safety and gender equality, while PNP leader Shizuka Kamei took up a new ministerial post overseeing postal and financial affairs.

http://www.japantoday.com/category/politics/view/diet-convenes-to-elect-hatoyama-prime-minister
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Posted 9/19/09
Taro Aso down!!!!
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Posted 10/3/09
Hope the Japanese people make the right choice by making Yukio Hatoyama the PM....

he looks kinda wacky, but i hope he'll make a good PM
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Posted 10/10/09

blue-y wrote:

Hope the Japanese people make the right choice by making Yukio Hatoyama the PM....

he looks kinda wacky, but i hope he'll make a good PM


XD his wife and him are wacky. She said that she got abducted by aliens and they call Hatoyama alien face XD
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Posted 10/10/09

robertpizzapean wrote:


blue-y wrote:

Hope the Japanese people make the right choice by making Yukio Hatoyama the PM....

he looks kinda wacky, but i hope he'll make a good PM


XD his wife and him are wacky. She said that she got abducted by aliens and they call Hatoyama alien face XD


Haha, i heard about that!! Did you know the one which she said that she and Tom Cruise used to know each other in their previous life, when Tom Cruise was a Japanese!!
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