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Last Updated: Wednesday, 26 September 2007, 04:31 GMT 05:31 UK
Japan's new leadership sworn in
Yasuo Fukuda addresses as news conference on 25 September 2007
Mr Fukuda and his cabinet have said they face a tough task
Japan's new Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda and his cabinet have been formally sworn in by Emperor Akihito.

Mr Fukuda was elected by parliament on Tuesday. His new cabinet will hold its first meeting later in the day.

The 71-year-old has retained 13 of the 17-member cabinet of his predecessor Shinzo Abe, who resigned two weeks ago.

Masahiko Komura was named foreign minister, replacing Nobutaka Machimura. He becomes chief cabinet secretary, the top government spokesman.

The defence ministry went to Shigeru Ishiba, who served in the same role under Mr Abe's predecessor, Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi.

Fukushiro Nukaga retained his position as finance minister, while Taro Aso, who ran against Mr Fukuda for the top job, turned down a cabinet post.

'Back to the wall'

On Tuesday Mr Fukuda acknowledged that he faced a tough task to restore faith in his party after Mr Abe's scandal-plagued administration.

"I would call this a cabinet that has its back to the wall," he told a news conference.

"If we do a single thing wrong, the Liberal Democratic Party may lose its control of the government," he said.

His first priority, he said, was extending Japan's naval refuelling mission in the Indian Ocean in support of US-led operations in Afghanistan.

But the opposition - which opposes the extension - now controls the upper house of parliament, which means it can block Mr Fukuda's legislative programme.

The opposition has been urging Mr Fukuda to call a snap election, arguing that he has no popular mandate.

The Mainichi newspaper also called for an election, saying that split control of parliament was like having two prime ministers.

"The decisive battle should be fought early in order to get rid of disadvantages of 'two governments in one country'," the daily said.

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