Thursday, September 17, 2009

Hatoyama cabinet: "I am excited by the prospect of changing history"!

Yukio Hatoyama (C), Japan Prime Minister

"We will probably face some trial and error, but I
want to ask people to stay with us, patiently," he
said. Reaffirming his campaign promise to build a
gentler, more "fraternal" society, Hatoyama said: "We
have to shift the country toward a people-oriented
society. Toward that end, I will lead the way."

Yuu - ai ideogram (Fraternity)

"Japanese Parliament convened in a special session on
Wednesday to formally select Hatoyama, whose Democrats won
a landslide in parliamentary elections last month to take
control of the body's lower house, ousting Prime Minister
Taro Aso's Liberal Democratic Party, which is conservative
and staunchly pro-U.S. In Wednesday's parliamentary vote
to choose the prime minister, Hatoyama won 327 of the 480
votes in the lower house. He needed a simple majority of
241 votes. Hatoyama, who has a Ph.D from Stanford
University and is the grandson of a conservative prime
minister, had a limited pool of seasoned politicians to
choose from. His party, created a decade ago, has never
held power, and nearly half of the Democrats' members of
the lower house will be serving in their first terms in

Although it has recently shown some signs of improvement,
Japan's economy remains deeply shaken by the global
financial crisis and unemployment is at a record high of
5.7 percent. The rapid aging of its population also
threatens to be a drag on public coffers as the number of
taxpayers decreases and pension responsibilities swell. "I
want to the people to feel that their pocketbook situation
is improving, even a little, as soon as possible," Hatoyama
said at a press conference. Voters expressed hope for
change and an upturn for the economy.

Hatoyama will also be tested quickly on the diplomatic
front. He has said he wants to attend the General Assembly
in the United Nations in New York next week and possibly
meet with Obama. Hatoyama has said he wants to build a
foreign policy that will put Tokyo on a more equal footing
with Washington, while keeping the U.S. as the
"cornerstone" of Japan's diplomacy. He is also seeking
closer ties with Japan's Asian neighbors, particularly
China." (Quotes: Agencies)

"... despite the DPJ's convincing triumph, many observers
in both Japan and the West remain doubtful about its
capacity to govern... "

The Ozawa kids: Building the women's Republic

Mieko Tanaka, Ishikawa & Eriko Fukuda, Nagasaki
among 54 women MPs.

Mainichi shimbun focus is on the women politicians
newly elected, mainly from the Democrats:

"High hopes are held for the government as Japan
enters a new political era. At the same time, eyes
are on the record number of female Diet members and
the role they will play. A total of 54 women were
selected as members of the House of Representatives --
11 more than last time -- bringing the percentage of
female lawmakers in the Lower House to 11.3 percent.
It is the first time since women obtained the right to
vote in 1945 that the figure has passed the 10 percent
mark. On an international scale, Japan now ranks 95th
in terms of the percentage of female lawmakers, up
from 102nd place. Some may highlight the fact that
the figure remains at a "mere" 10 percent."

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