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Hatoyama, Heir to Political Dynasty, Promises 'Revolutionary Change'


Japan's apparent new prime minister-in-waiting, 62-year-old Yukio Hatoyama, may seem an unlikely figure to radically change the face of Japanese politics.

He is the heir to a powerful political dynasty, and is one of the country's wealthiest lawmakers. His grandfather, former Prime Minister Ichiro Hatoyama, even helped create the powerful Liberal Democratic Party, which has ruled Japan almost continuously since its founding in 1955.

But Yukio Hatoyama, who once belonged to the LDP, has promised "revolutionary change" for the country. He has consistently accused his former party of leaving policy-making to aging politicians who are out of touch with the needs of the Japanese people.

The soft-spoken, Stanford (California) University-trained engineer also has vowed to pursue a new course that would take the world's number-two economy away from what he considers the excesses of U.S.-style capitalism.

He has indicated that Japan will seek closer economic cooperation with neighboring China.

Mr. Hatoyama also has promised to redirect money and resources away from corporations and toward families in the form of child care support and free education.

Politics runs deep in his family. His father was a foreign minister in the 1970s, and his brother was a cabinet minister in the outgoing government of Prime Minister Taro Aso. Another grandfather founded the world's largest tiremaker, Bridgestone.

Mr. Hatoyama was first elected to Japan's House of Representatives in 1986 from the northern island of Hokkaido. In May, he was chosen to head the Democratic Party of Japan for the second time. He helped found the party more than a decade ago, but resigned as its leader in 2002.

He is married to Miyuki Hatoyama, a former actress.


Some information for this report was provided by AFP and Reuters.



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