Date of birth: May 2, 1954
Electoral district: Upper House; Iwate (second term)
Hirano retains the post he was assigned to in early July after his predecessor, Ryu Matsumoto, resigned for making remarks that angered survivors of the March 11 calamity.
Born and raised in Iwate Prefecture, whose coastline was devastated by the tsunami, Hirano was a core member of the government team tasked with aiding recovery in the devastated areas and worked close with Matsumoto.
Hirano was a bureaucrat in the agriculture ministry before winning a seat in the Upper House in 2001 as a member of the now-defunct Liberal Party headed by Ichiro Ozawa.
While he is a member of the Ozawa camp, they differ on some policies, including financial reform.
He is also an advocate of social welfare reform
*Appointed as minister of Reconstruction Agency Feb. 10.