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Yukio Hatoyama elected as Japan's PM, new cabinet formally launched
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21:38, September 16, 2009

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Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) President Yukio Hatoyama was elected as Japan's 93rd prime minister at a special Diet session Wednesday, succeeding Taro Aso of the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP).

In the voting at the session, Hatoyama garnered 327 votes at the 480-seat lower house and 124 at the 242-seat upper house, winning elections in both chambers of the Diet.

The election of Hatoyama to the top government office came as widely expected as the DPJ-led tripartite coalition with the Social Democratic Party (SDP) and the People's New Party (PNP) commands majorities in both houses of the Diet.

At his first press conference as premier, Hatoyama vowed to abolish bureaucrat-led politics.

"Now is the time to practice politics that are not controlled by bureaucrats," said Hatoyama.

He also said he has no intention to promote foreign policies that would "exclude the United States."

Hatoyama, who has called for a more "equal" relationship with the United States, said that he would like to build a relationship of trust with President Obama.

"In order to deepen our trust, it would be most important for us to exchange views frankly. That's the first step," he said.


Yukio Hatoyama, president of the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ), is greeted after he was elected as Japan's 93rd prime minister by the House of Representatives in Tokyo, capital of Japan, on Sept. 16, 2009. Following his election in the lower house, the House of Councillors also picked Hatoyama as the new premier. (Xinhua/Ren Zhenglai)

Hatoyama will make his international debut as the new premier later this month in Pittsburgh at the Group of 20 Leaders' Summit and discuss Japan's new policies with U.S. President Barack Obama.

Urging the creation of an East Asia community, he said that the idea of creating the community in the medium to long term is not intended to "exclude the dollar or the United States" but rather to be developed further into an Asia-Pacific community.

Shortly after the Diet announced Hatoyama's appointment to the premiership, newly-appointed Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirofumi Hirano announced the lineup of the 17-member new cabinet comprised of members from the DPJ, the SDP and the PNP.

Former Finance Ministry bureaucrat Hirohisa Fujii and former DPJ Secretary General Katsuya Okada, among others, were appointed respectively to the posts of finance minister and foreign minister.


Yukio Hatoyama, president of the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ), is greeted after he was elected as Japan's 93rd prime minister by the House of Representatives in Tokyo, capital of Japan, on Sept. 16, 2009. Following his election in the lower house, the House of Councillors also picked Hatoyama as the new premier. (Xinhua/Ren Zhenglai)

DPJ Acting President Naoto Kan was tapped as vice prime minister and minister in charge of the National Strategy Bureau, anew body to be set up to lay out budgets and basic policies, and Hatoyama's top aide Hirofumi Hirano, as chief cabinet secretary.

In the DPJ-led coalition cabinet, SDP leader Mizuho Fukushima became minister in charge of consumer affairs, the declining birthrate, food safety and gender equality, and PNP President Shizuka Kamei was appointed to a new ministerial post overseeing postal and financial affairs.

Hatoyama's new cabinet was formally launched late Wednesday following an attestation ceremony at the Imperial Palace.

Earlier in the day former Prime Minister Taro Aso and 17 other cabinet ministers resigned en masse ahead of the launch of a DPJ-led government.

Aso, who also resigned as LDP president, launched his cabinet on Sept. 24, 2008, following the abrupt resignation of his predecessor Yasuo Fukuda. His administration lasted nearly a year.

In the historic general election on Aug. 30, the DPJ won by a landslide, breaking the half-century lock of the LDP on power. Japan has thus witnessed a real change of government for the first time in the postwar era.

Source: Xinhua



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