Naoto Kan becomes DPJ chief, prime minister post certain

13:28, June 04, 2010      

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Naoto Kan (R) gestures after he won the election to succeed the outgoing Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama as the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) leader in Tokyo, capital of Japan, on June 4, 2010. (Xinhua Photo)

Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) legislators Friday voted for finance minister Naoto Kan, to succeed the outgoing Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama as the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) leader.

Kan, a front-runner for the position following Hatoyama's hasty resignation on Wednesday, beat rival Shinji Tarutoko, a relatively unknown lawmaker from the DPJ, by 291 votes to 129, from the 420 valid votes of 423 DPJ lawmakers in both houses of the Diet.

In line with the DPJ's majority strength in Parliament Kan will almost certainly serve as the nation's prime minister until the end of September when Hatoyama's term was scheduled to end.

The imminent task for Kan will be to secure a majority in the upcoming upper house election, which is expectedly to be held in July.

"I will fulfill Hatoyama's wishes to lead the party to win the upper house election," Kan said after he was confirmed a victory, adding the DPJ should "make solid economic and fiscal policies to rebuild the Japanese economy."

Kan is set to become the prime minister in the afternoon, after being approved by the Diet.

But the newly-elected DPJ chief said his cabinet is likely to be launched on Tuesday.

Kan, a 63-year-old veteran lawmaker, founded the Democratic Party with Hatoyama more than a decade ago and shot to fame as health minister in the 1990s, when he spearheaded a campaign to unveil health ministry's scandal over HIV-tainted blood products.

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