Yukio Hatoyama named as Japan's new Prime Minister

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Sunday, August 30, 2009

New Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama in May

Leader of the Japanese opposition Democratic Party of Japan, Yukio Hatoyama, won a majority of votes in the House of Representatives of Japan in the Japanese general election on Sunday. He will be named the 93rd Prime Minister of Japan.

Hatoyama ran against now former Prime Minister of Japan and Liberal Democratic Party leader Taro Aso. The results of the election were announced today, less that two and a half hours after polling stations closed, and end 54 years of nearly unbroken rule by the LDP. It has been estimated that roughly 30% of LDP supporters voted for the victorious DPJ, mainly due to the current economic climate.

The Liberal Democratic Party was left with just 57 of 480 total seats. Outgoing Prime Minister Taro Aso has promised to resign as party leader, saying, "I believe this is the judgement of the public and we have to accept that and reflect on what we did. The people have shown their disappointment with the party and I have to accept that as my destiny. I think I should take responsibility for the defeat." Aso also said that he will stay on as leader until a new one is chosen.

The Democratic Party has already informally allocated a number of cabinet positions and has set to work drafting improvements to the existing stimulus package. The newly elected party also pledges to focus spending on households, especially rural families and those with children. Tokyo economist Koichi Haji predicts that the hope instilled in the Japanese people by the election result will stimulate the economy, causing stock prices to rise.

However, questions have been raised about the Democratic Party's stability, due to the wide spectrum of views and ideologies the party encompasses.


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