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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Noda gains Japan’s PM position

TOKYO — Shortly after his election Monday as president of the Democratic Party of Japan, Finance Minister Yoshihiko Noda called on DPJ members to close ranks and ensure party unity.

“I’m determined to firmly join hands with all of you, gear up and assume the heavy responsibility (of being DPJ leader),” Noda told a meeting of party lawmakers from both chambers of the Diet.

“Let’s end this bickering over who’s a friend or a foe,” he said.
Noda is virtually certain to be named prime minister Tuesday, after Prime Minister Naoto Kan’s Cabinet resigns en masse earlier in the day.

Addressing the gathering at a Tokyo hotel, Noda compared taking charge of government to making a snowman.

“If there are squabbles (among party members) over who likes or dislikes whom, the snowman will fall down the hill,” he said.

Noda emphasized the importance of cooperation in addressing the host of challenges facing the nation, including ending the ongoing nuclear crisis and recovering from the havoc wreaked by the March earthquake and tsunami. He also cited the need to fight deflation and address problems arising from the continued rise in the yen’s value.

“Please let me work with you to perform tasks that will give the public a sense of security,” Noda said.

Monday’s meeting started at 11 a.m. Before the vote, each contestant made a last-ditch appeal for support from party legislators attending the caucus. Lawmakers present listened to short speeches by each of the five contenders for the party presidency.

Voting began shortly after 12:30 p.m. No candidate won a majority in the first round, in which the top two finishers were Economy, Trade and Industry Minister Banri Kaieda, who received 143 votes, and Noda, who collected 102. This prompted a runoff between Kaieda and Noda that the latter won.

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