Japan’s Prime Ministerial rotating door

On the second of September, Japan welcomed its 95th Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda after he won the run-off vote to succeed Naoto Kan following Kan’s resignation.

Noda (54) – who famously compared himself to a bottom feeding loach in his bid for PM – was the former Minister of Finance, and the sixth man in five years to hold the position of Prime Minister.

To put this into perspective:

Former Prime Minister Kan resigned amid plunging approval ratings and heavy criticism of his handling of disaster recovery. His predecessor Yukio Hatoyama resigned after he broke his campaign promise to close down a controversial American naval base in Okinawa.

Noda has a daunting task ahead as the new PM, having inherited the task of rebuilding after the catastrophic March earthquake and tsunami and the consequent nuclear disaster at Fukushima. On top of that, there is the fractioning in the ruling Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) and the country’s economic stagnation and soaring Yen to be dealt with.

But according to Takashi Yokota of Newsweek, Noda is a hard-nosed politician with a clean career unbridled by scandals who is a likely candidate to bring Japan out of many of its woes.

“Noda is a competent technocrat who can speed the pace of reconstruction, reunify his governing party, and rein in the country’s rising currency,” Says Yokota.

“Despite his bland reputation, the politician displayed grit and mettle on the campaign trail.”

Ganbatte kudasai ne, Noda-sama.


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