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New Japanese Prime Minister Takes Office, Names Cabinet

Japan's long-time opposition leader, Yukio Hatoyama, has taken office as the country's new prime minister.

Mr. Hatoyama said Wednesday he is excited by the prospect of changing Japanese history.

His formal election by parliament Wednesday marks the end of more than 50 years of nearly unbroken rule by the Liberal Democratic Party.

In his first press conference as prime minister, Mr. Hatoyama said his new government will face some trial and error. He called on the Japanese people to have patience.

Mr. Hatoyama named his cabinet members after being sworn in Wednesday.

He chose Hirohisa Fujii, a former finance ministry bureaucrat, to steer the world's second largest economy as finance minister.

Mr. Hatoyama nominated fellow party leader Katsuya Okada as foreign minister, tasking him with redefining Japan's relationship with the United States and Asia.

In a landslide victory last month, Mr. Hatoyama's Democratic Party of Japan won 308 of the 480 seats in parliament's powerful lower chamber.

The party has pledged to cut government waste and reinvigorate the economy, which is experiencing a record high unemployment rate of 5.7 percent.

Mr. Hatoyama has pledged a more family-friendly, less pro-business government. He has also said Japanese foreign policy will shift away from U.S. influence.

Some information for this report was provided by Reuters.