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Ruling party selects new Japanese PM
BayBak, Azerbaijan | 660 days ago | Monday, 29th August , 2011 , 11:51 [am] | International
|.|| Democratic Party of Japan lawmakers voted 215 to 177 for Mr Noda, who defeated Trade Minister Banri Kaieda in a run-off after public favourite Seiji Maehara was rejected on the first ballot. The DPJ is set to use its majority in the lower house to appoint him as premier to succeed Naoto Kan.
”I’m firmly resolved to
YOSHIHIKO Noda has been elected head of Japan’s ruling party, paving the way for the 54-year-old Finance Minister to become the third prime minister since the party took power two years ago.
Democratic Party of Japan lawmakers voted 215 to 177 for Mr Noda, who defeated Trade Minister Banri Kaieda in a run-off after public favourite Seiji Maehara was rejected on the first ballot. The DPJ is set to use its majority in the lower house to appoint him as premier to succeed Naoto Kan.
”I’m firmly resolved to carry this heavy burden and ask for your support,” Mr Noda told DPJ lawmakers in Tokyo after the vote. ”Let’s brace ourselves and work to achieve stable, reliable government.”
Advertisement: Story continues below His win is likely to mean higher taxes in the world’s third-largest economy after he advocated a levy rise to help pay for reconstruction from the March earthquake.
Along with inheriting an economy that’s shrunk for three quarters in a row, he faces having to rebuild support for a party that has had its poll ratings eroded by infighting.
”Noda is the most aggressive about tax increases among the candidates, so his win would fuel expectations that fiscal reforms will progress,” said Kenichi Kawasaki, senior political analyst at Nomura Securities Co in Tokyo. ”That would be supportive to the bond market.”
Mr Noda said in a leadership-candidate debate in Tokyo that the DPJ had let the country down and called for honouring Mr Kan’s proposal to raise taxes to pay for reconstruction and shore up the welfare system. He said on August 13 that there should be no retreat from a pledge to double the sales tax to 10 per cent by the middle of the decade.
The government plans to spend 19 trillion yen ($A234 billion) over the next five years to rebuild from the earthquake and tsunami that left 20,000 people dead or missing and destroyed the country’s north-east.
Policymakers have faced a strengthening exchange rate that has given companies an incentive to shift jobs and production overseas. Mr Noda has overseen three interventions in the currency market in the past year to address the appreciation in the yen. The currency has gained about 19 per cent against the dollar since Mr Kan took office in June last year, and reached a postwar record on August 19.
Mr Noda will have to restore public faith in a party that hasn’t lived up to campaign pledges to tackle the challenges of an ageing society, having scaled back subsidies for childcare and failed to overhaul welfare spending. He has signalled he would seek to form a coalition with opposition parties if he became prime minister. Mr Kan failed in a similar attempt after the March 11 catastrophe.
The DPJ’s support was at 21 per cent, according to a recent Yomiuri newspaper poll. The opposition Liberal Democratic Party, which governed for half a century before being ousted by the Democrats in 2009, got 23 per cent, while 46 per cent of people supported no party.
”As to whether the public feels the government change two years ago was good or bad, we’re standing at a cliff,” Mr Noda said. ”That’s why we must work for party unity.”
Mr Kan, 64, announced his resignation last week, hurt by public discontent with his handling of the earthquake and the nuclear meltdown that followed it at the Fukushima Daiichi power plant.smh, Voice of a Nation