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Page last updated at 09:31 GMT, Wednesday, 16 September 2009 10:31 UK

Japan's new cabinet: Key figures

Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama has named his cabinet, hours after being formally elected by parliament. The BBC looks at the key figures.

NAOTO KAN

A former DPJ leader, Mr Kan will serve both as deputy prime minister and as head of the new National Strategy Bureau, which is charged with wresting control of policy-making from the powerful bureaucracy.

Naoto Kan
Naoto Kan says he wants to change the policy-making process

Unlike many of his cabinet colleagues, Mr Kan, 62, was never a member of the LDP, instead entering parliament in 1980 as part of the Social Democratic Federation.

He served as health minister under a coalition deal with the LDP, becoming very popular after he exposed a scandal involving HIV-tainted blood products.

He went on to co-launch the DPJ and led it during the election of 2003, but then stood down over a failure to make pension contributions.

His role in the newly-established bureau is expected to be a key one in the coming months.

"There will be a fundamental change in the way the cabinet, parliament and the bureaucracy govern," he wrote on his website earlier this month.

KATSUYA OKADA

The incoming foreign minister, Katsuya Okada, is a former bureaucrat with a straight-laced image.

Katsuya Okada
Katsuya Okada says Japan must overcome historical issues

A graduate of the elite Tokyo University, the 56-year-old began his political life with the LDP, but defected to the opposition in the mid 1990s.

He became the leader of the Democratic Party of Japan in 2004 but stepped down a year later after his party's drubbing at the hands of LDP leader Junichiro Koizumi.

He says that Japan will continue to prioritise the security alliance with Washington, but he has echoed Mr Hatoyama's call for a more equal bilateral relationship.

He has also called for closer ties with Asian neighbours and for historical differences to be overcome. He said in an interview with Reuters news agency that it was time Japan came to grips with its "wretched, foolish war".

HIROHISA FUJII

The 20 years Hirohisa Fujii spent as a Finance Ministry bureaucrat are expected to stand him in good stead as he takes on the finance portfolio.

Hirohisa Fujii
Hirohisa Fujii wants to curb excessive government spending

Mr Fujii, 77, has served in the position once before, in the brief period in the mid 1990s when a coalition of opposition parties wrested power from the LDP.

He began his political life as an LDP lawmaker but broke with the party in 1993.

A fiscal conservative, he has attacked wasteful government spending and says it must be cut to ease Japan's debt burden.

He says the government should not intervene in the currency market to curb the strength of the yen as long as market moves are moderate.



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