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Noda Cabinet (Formed September 2, 2011)

PRIME MINISTER

Yoshihiko Noda

PRIME MINISTER Yoshihiko Noda

Date of birth: May 20, 1957

Party: DPJ

Electoral district: Lower House; Chiba No. 4 (fifth term)

Yoshihiko Noda never hesitates to describe himself as a rather boring, ordinary man, and that did not change after he was elected leader of the Democratic Party of Japan and subsequently prime minister.

"A loach can't emulate a goldfish," Noda told a room packed with DPJ lawmakers in the final phase of the ruling party race to pick a new leader. "Because of my looks, the public support rating for us won't rise," he joked.

But comparing himself to a common, bottom-feeding fish, abundant in Japan's rice paddies and marshlands says a lot about the character, background, political beliefs and leadership style of the man newly chosen to lead the country at this crucial moment.

Born in 1957 to parents who both grew up in farming households, Noda initially aimed to become a journalist. But the shy bookworm would soon learn the discipline needed to be a politician from novels that featured lower-class samurai, figures of integrity and strong will, he said.

After studying political science at Waseda University in Tokyo, Noda joined the first class of students to study at the Matsushita Institute of Government and Management, a school for political hopefuls established in 1980 by the late founder of Panasonic Corp., Konosuke Matsushita.

Starting his political career in 1987 as a member of the Chiba Prefectural Assembly, Noda won his first Diet seat as a member of the now-defunct Japan New Party in 1993. He lost the Lower House seat in 1996 before returning to the national stage in 2000 with the DPJ.

A staunch supporter of tax increases for improving the nation's debt-laden finances, Noda has often been described as a mindless follower of the Finance Ministry, the most powerful arm of the bureaucracy.

He has served as finance minister in the Cabinet of his predecessor Naoto Kan since June 2010. Before that, he was senior vice finance minister under Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama.

He has been a strong proponent of fiscal reforms even before the DPJ came to power in the 2009 general election.

When he announced his bid for the DPJ presidency to replace Kan, Noda stressed that he hopes to realize a tax hike to fix the nation's tattered state finances. During the election campaign, however, he toned down his call for a tax hike.

Noda does not have a strong power base within the DPJ. The intraparty group he leads has only about 25 members.

His career suffered a setback in 2006 when he had to quit as the party's Diet affairs chief to take the blame for a DPJ lawmaker's attempt to attack the then ruling Liberal Democratic Party by citing an email — which turned out to a fake — that hinted at a money scandal involving a senior LDP leader.

Related links:

2011: Noda a grappler, wears many hats

2011: Noda victorious in race for prime minister

2011: Noda stakes out a hawkish stand on fiscal discipline

2003: DPJ's Noda intent on pursuing noble cause in Diet


 

Subsequent changes

INTERNAL AFFAIRS AND COMMUNICATIONS MINISTER Tatsuo Kawabata

INTERNAL AFFAIRS AND COMMUNICATIONS MINISTER

Tatsuo Kawabata

FOREIGN MINISTER Koichiro Genba

FOREIGN MINISTER

Koichiro Genba

FINANCE MINISTER Jun Azumi

FINANCE MINISTER

Jun Azumi

HEALTH, LABOR AND WELFARE MINISTER Yoko Komiyama

HEALTH, LABOR AND WELFARE MINISTER

Yoko Komiyama

ENVIRONMENT MINISTER, STATE MINISTER, NUCLEAR ACCIDENT SETTLEMENT AND PREVENTION Goshi Hosono

ENVIRONMENT MINISTER, STATE MINISTER, NUCLEAR ACCIDENT SETTLEMENT AND PREVENTION

Goshi Hosono

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY Osamu Fujimura

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY

Osamu Fujimura

STATE MINISTER, NATIONAL STRATEGY, ECONOMIC AND FISCAL POLICY Motohisa Furukawa

STATE MINISTER, NATIONAL STRATEGY, ECONOMIC AND FISCAL POLICY

Motohisa Furukawa

RECONSTRUCTION MINISTER Tatsuo Hirano

RECONSTRUCTION MINISTER

Tatsuo Hirano

ECONOMY, TRADE AND INDUSTRY MINISTER Yukio Edano

ECONOMY, TRADE AND INDUSTRY MINISTER

Yukio Edano

STATE MINISTER, SOCIAL SECURITY AND TAX REFORMS, AND GOVERNMENT REVITALIZATION Katsuya Okada

STATE MINISTER, SOCIAL SECURITY AND TAX REFORMS, AND GOVERNMENT REVITALIZATION

Katsuya Okada

EDUCATION, CULTURE, SPORTS, SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY MINISTER Hirofumi Hirano

EDUCATION, CULTURE, SPORTS, SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY MINISTER

Hirofumi Hirano

NATIONAL PUBLIC SAFETY COMMISSION CHAIRMAN Jin Matsubara

NATIONAL PUBLIC SAFETY COMMISSION CHAIRMAN

Jin Matsubara

STATE MINISTER, DISASTER PREVENTION Masaharu Nakagawa

STATE MINISTER, DISASTER PREVENTION

Masaharu Nakagawa

AGRICULTURE, FORESTRY AND FISHERIES MINISTER Akira Gunji

AGRICULTURE, FORESTRY AND FISHERIES MINISTER

Akira Gunji

LAND,
INFRASTRUCTURE, TRANSPORT AND TOURISM MINISTER Yuichiro Hata

LAND, INFRASTRUCTURE, TRANSPORT AND TOURISM MINISTER

Yuichiro Hata

DEFENSE MINISTER Satoshi Morimoto

DEFENSE MINISTER

Satoshi Morimoto

JUSTICE MINISTER Makoto Taki

JUSTICE MINISTER

Makoto Taki

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