News / Asia

Japan's Parliament Selects New PM

Yoshihiko Noda, new leader of the ruling Democratic Party of Japan, reacts before Japan's lower house elected Noda as the country's new prime minister, at the parliament in Tokyo, August 30, 2011
Yoshihiko Noda, new leader of the ruling Democratic Party of Japan, reacts before Japan's lower house elected Noda as the country's new prime minister, at the parliament in Tokyo, August 30, 2011

Japan's parliament has elected a new prime minister. The fiscal conservative of the governing left-of-center party appears to have little support among the public.     

There was never any doubt about the outcome after the majority Democrats selected Finance Minister Yoshihiko Noda as their new party president.   

The announcement was made in Japan's more powerful Lower House of Parliament that Noda won Tuesday's balloting among representatives and will become the nation's 95th prime minister.

He will take over at one of the most troubling times for Japan since its defeat in World War II in 1945.

Besides a stagnant economy, still the world's third largest, the country is struggling to recover from the March 11 magnitude 9.0 earthquake and destructive tsunami, which has left 20,000 people dead or missing in the northeast.

The natural disaster also triggered the meltdown of reactors at a nuclear power plant in Fukushima prefecture.

The director of Asian studies at the Japan campus of Temple University, Professor Jeffrey Kingston, says at a time when the country needs a decisive figure, Noda does not come across as a strong or bold leader.

"He's a compromise candidate," noted Kingston.  "He doesn't have his own independent power base. And he's not a particularly strong communicator. He's not a populist at all. He's sort of a typical throwback to the Japanese prime minister of yore, the faceless grey suits. Even in Japan his name recognition factor is quite low."

Noda is acknowledging low expectations for himself, predicting he will not have high public support. During the brief campaign for his party's leadership Noda said he was no goldfish, but rather an unattractive loach, a bottom-feeding fish.

Kan's cabinet members submitted their resignation letters earlier Tuesday, but they are expected to remain in their posts until Noda names his own cabinet.  The new prime minister's inauguration is set for Friday in front of Emperor Akihito.

That ceremony has been held frequently in recent years at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo. None of Mr. Noda's five predecessors has lasted longer than 15 months.


Steve Herman

A veteran journalist, Steven L Herman is the Voice of America Asia correspondent.

You May Like

Ukraine Purges Interior Ministry Leadership With Pro-Russian Ties

Interior Minister Avakov says 91 people 'in positions of leadership' have been fired, including 8 generals found to have links to past pro-Moscow governments More

US Airlines Point to Additional Problems of any Ebola Travel Ban

Airline officials note that even under travel ban, they may not be able to determine where passenger set out from, as there are no direct flights from Liberia, Guinea or Sierra Leone More

Nigerian President to Seek Another Term

Goodluck Jonathan has faced intense criticism for failing to stop Boko Haram militants More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
October 25, 2014 4:21 PM
Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukraine

Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.

All About America

AppleAndroid