Japanese PM accepts resignation of finance minister

18:57, January 06, 2010      

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The photo taken on Sept. 16, 2009 shows Hirohisa Fujii attending a news conference at the prime minister's official residence in Tokyo, Janpan. The finance minister of the government of the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) Hirohisa Fujii spoke to Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama on Tuesday about health issues, hinting that he may resign upon doctor's advice. (Xinhua/Ren Zhenglai)

Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama accepted Wednesday Finance Minister Hirohisa Fujii's resignation and made Deputy Prime Minister Naoto Kan the successor.

Hatoyama said Kan was picked for his knowledge of the financial year 2010 budget. Kan said he already accepted Hatoyama's offer of the post.

Kan, 63, will give up his portfolio as national strategy minister, who oversees the budget process and sets priorities for fiscal policy. Administrative Reform Minister Yoshito Sengoku will double as national strategy minister.

Kan, who graduated from Tokyo Institute of Technology, is a Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) founder and was co-president in 1996. He is also known as a vocal fighter against bureaucrats.

Japan's newly-appointed finance minister Naoto Kan is surrounded by reporters at Prime Minister's official residence in Tokyo January 6, 2010. Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama said on Wednesday, Kan will become finance minister, succeeding Hirohisa Fujii who is resigning due to ill health.(Xinhua/Reuters Photo)

Kan was not regarded an expert on budgetary issues but that didn't prevented him from speaking out. He had openly expressed worries that the Japanese economy might sink into recession again if the budget for 2010/11 fiscal year was not kept stimulative.

However, analysts said he is unlikely to favour big spending, given that public debt is nearly 200 percent of Japan's GDP.

Sengoku, 63, was in charge of cutting wasteful spending from the budget. He opposes big spending and stressed the importance of fiscal restraint when ministries proposed record spending in their budget plans for the 2010/11 fiscal year.

Fujii, 77, was admitted to hospital in late December complaining of exhaustion. His resignation meant that there are very few experienced lawmakers for senior positions in Hatoyama's Cabinet.

Fujii was key to the government's announcement in late December of a 92.3 trillion yen (1 trillion dollar) budget, which the government had struggled to write amid deflation and a weak economy.

In his job, Fujii was charged last year with trying to balance the troubled economy with the DPJ campaign pledging to eliminate wasteful spending on huge public works projects and launch schemes that will benefit the average Japanese.

Source: Xinhua

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