News / Asia

New Japan Cabinet Convenes; Serious Challenges Ahead

Japan's new Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda, front row center, and some of his Cabinet members stand together during an official photo session following their first Cabinet meeting at the prime minister's official residence in Tokyo, September 2, 2011.
Japan's new Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda, front row center, and some of his Cabinet members stand together during an official photo session following their first Cabinet meeting at the prime minister's official residence in Tokyo, September 2, 2011.

Japan’s new prime minister and his cabinet were installed Friday at an Imperial Palace ceremony, officially marking the start of the latest government.

In a wide-ranging news conference, just prior to Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda convening his first Cabinet meeting, much of the focus was on the ongoing recovery effort from the March 11 earthquake and tsunami.

Noda says it is imperative to speed efforts to rebound from the disaster. He mentions concerns about radiation from the meltdown of reactors at the Fukushima-1 nuclear plant, triggered by the natural disaster. The prime minister says Japan cannot be whole again without revitalizing the Fukushima region where numerous villages and towns were evacuated because of the radiation levels.

Noda says time is running out to improve the country’s economy if it wants to avoid risk to its debt rating. He has called for “bold economic and fiscal steps” and is on record as favoring tax hikes.

Noda added that the alliance with the United States will be at the core of his administration’s foreign policy, but he said he also wants to expand relations with Asian countries.

In response to a reporter’s question, Noda said he would not visit, during his tenure, the controversial Yasukuni war shrine, regarded by Japan’s neighbors as a symbol of the country’s imperialist aggression before and during World War Two.

It took the new prime minister several days to form his cabinet. Most Japanese prime ministers announce their administration lineup within a day of winning parliamentary approval, which Noda accomplished on Tuesday. The delay is seen as an indication of infighting among influential Democratic Party of Japan politicians.

Noda chose a close ally, Osamu Fujimura, for the critical post of Chief Cabinet Secretary, who also acts as the top government spokesman.

Fujimura, a veteran politician is best known for his resemblance to a famous Japanese cartoon cat, named Doraemon.

Most of the other Cabinet faces are less familiar to the public, but several are notable for their relative youth.

The new prime minister is Japan’s third youngest ever, at age 54.

Taking over the finance ministry post from Mr. Noda is 49-year-old Jun Azumi. He worked as a political journalist at public broadcaster NHK before becoming an independent politician. His hometown, Ishinomaki, a small coastal city suffered extensive damage in the March 11 earthquake and tsunami.

About 4,000 of its residents perished.

The new foreign minister is 47-year-old Koichiro Genba, also a DPJ politician, who was in charge of national strategy under the prior administration of Prime Minister Naoto Kan. Genba is known as an advocate of free trade.

Forty-year-old Goshi Hosono is being retained as the special minister handling the ongoing crisis caused by the Fukushima reactor meltdowns. Hosono will also serve as environment minister.

A former agriculture ministry bureaucrat turned politician, Yasuo Ichikawa, is Japan’s new defense minister.

There is little initial enthusiasm among the Japanese public for the new cabinet. Analysts say constituents have grown weary after seeing the previous five administrations end within 15 months.

You May Like

Multimedia Obama, Modi Break Nuclear Deal Deadlock

Impasse over liability issues had been stalling bilateral civilian nuclear cooperation; deal reached at start of US president's three-day visit to India More

WHO's Late Efforts in Tackling Ebola Highlight Need for Reform

Health experts debate measures to reform agency’s response to global public health emergencies in special one-day session on deadly outbreak More

One Tumultuous Year in Power for CAR's President

As sectarian violence raged across Central African Republic, interim President Catherine Samba-Panza has Herculean task: to end civil war and put country back on right track 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.
Worldwide Photo Workshops Empower Youthi
X
Julie Taboh
January 23, 2015 11:08 PM
Last September, 20 young adults from South Sudan took part in a National Geographic Photo Camp. They are among hundreds of students from around the world who have learned how to use a camera to tell the stories of the people in their communities through the powerful medium of photography. Three camp participants talked about their experiences recently on a visit to Washington. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Worldwide Photo Workshops Empower Youth

Last September, 20 young adults from South Sudan took part in a National Geographic Photo Camp. They are among hundreds of students from around the world who have learned how to use a camera to tell the stories of the people in their communities through the powerful medium of photography. Three camp participants talked about their experiences recently on a visit to Washington. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video US, Japan Offer Lessons as Eurozone Launches Huge Stimulus

The Euro currency has fallen sharply after the European Central Bank announced a bigger-than-expected $67 billion-a-month quantitative easing program Thursday - commonly seen as a form of printing new money. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London on whether the move might rescue the eurozone economy -- and what lessons have been learned from similar programs around the world.
Video

Video Nigerian Elections Pose Concern of Potential Conflict in 'Middle Belt'

Nigeria’s north-central state of Kaduna has long been the site of fighting between Muslims and Christians as well as between people of different ethnic groups. As the February elections approach, community and religious leaders are making plans they hope will keep the streets calm after results are announced. Chris Stein reports from the state capital, Kaduna.
Video

Video As Viewership Drops, Obama Puts His Message on YouTube

Ratings reports show President Obama’s State of the Union address this week drew the lowest number of viewers for this annual speech in 15 years. White House officials anticipated this, and the president has decided to take a non-traditional approach to getting his message out. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video S. Korean Businesses Want to End Trade Restrictions With North

Business leaders in South Korea are calling for President Park Geun-hye to ease trade restrictions with North Korea that were put in place in 2010 after the sinking of a South Korean warship.Pro-business groups argue that expanding trade and investment is not only good for business, it is also good for long-term regional peace and security. VOA’s Brian Padden reports.
Video

Video US Marching Bands Grow Into a Show of Their Own

The 2014 Super Bowl halftime show was the most-watched in history - attracting an estimated 115 million viewers. That event featured pop star Bruno Mars. But the halftime show tradition started with marching bands, which still dominate the entertainment at U.S. high school and college American football games. But as Enming Liu reports in this story narrated by Adrianna Zhang, marching bands have grown into a show of their own.
Video

Video Secular, Religious Kurds Face Off in Southeast Turkey

Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast has been rocked by violence between religious and secular Kurds. Dorian Jones reports on the reasons behind the stand-off from the region's main city of Diyarbakir, which suffered the bloodiest fighting.
Video

Video Kenya: Misuse of Antibiotics Leading to Resistance by Immune System

In Kenya, the rise of drug resistant bacteria could reverse the gains made by medical science over diseases that were once treatable. Kenyans could be at risk of fatalities as a result if the power in antibiotics is not preserved. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story from Nairobi.
Video

Video Solar-Powered Plane Getting Ready to Circumnavigate Globe

Pilots of the solar plane that already set records flying without a drop of fuel are close to making their first attempt to fly the craft around the globe. They plan to do it in 25 flying days over a five month period. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video How Experts Decide Ethiopia Has the Best Coffee

Ethiopia’s coffee has been ranked as the best in the world by an international group of coffee connoisseurs. Not surprisingly, coffee is a top export for the country. But at home it is a source of pride. Marthe van der Wolf in Addis Ababa decided to find out what makes the bean and brew so special and how experts make their determinations.
Video

Video Yazidi Refugees at Center of Political Fight Between Turkey, Kurds

The treatment of thousands of Yazidis refugees who fled to Turkey to escape attacks by Islamic State militants has become the center of a dispute between the Turkish government and the country's pro-Kurdish movement. VOA's Dorian Jones reports.
Video

Video World’s Richest 1% Forecast to Own More Than Half of Global Wealth

The combined wealth of the world's richest 1 percent will overtake that of the remaining 99 percent at some point in 2016, according to the anti-poverty charity Oxfam. Campaigners are demanding that policymakers take action to address the widening gap between the ‘haves’ and the ‘have nots’, as Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid