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Profile: Yoshihiko Noda, a fiscal hawk flies into Japan's top post

(Xinhua)

15:42, August 29, 2011

Japanese Finance Minister Yoshihiko Noda gives a speech after winning Japan's ruling party presidential election in Tokyo, Japan, Aug. 29, 2011. (Xinhua/Ji Chunpeng)

TOKYO, Aug. 29 (Xinhua) -- Japan's ruling Democratic Part of Japan (DPJ) on Monday picked Finance Minister Yoshihiko Noda to be the party's next leader and almost certainly the nation's sixth prime minister in five years, in a party presidential election.

Following a runoff vote between favorites Noda, 54, who secured 215 votes, and economic, industrial and trade minister Banri Kaieda, 62, who secured 177, Noda will now almost definitely be named Japan's new prime mister as early as Tuesday and will serve out Kan's term as the party's chief until September 2012.

NO CITY BOY

Born on May 20, 1957 into a poor family in Funabashi, Chiba Prefecture, Noda, in his speech prior to Monday's vote held at the Hotel New Otani in Tokyo, made no apologies for his tough upbringing on the outskirts of Tokyo.

"It's the reason why I do not look like a 'city boy,'" he said, adding that his introduction to politics was a gloomy one.

A son of a serviceman in Japan's Self-Defense forces, and a graduate of Tokyo's prestigious School of Political Science and Economics at Waseda University, Noda went to a school for political leaders that champions free-market economic policies, called the Matsushita Institute of Government and Management. The school boasts 70 politicians among its alumni, including some currently serving as cabinet members.

Noda in 1993 was first elected to the Diet representing the No. 4 region of Chiba Prefecture as a member of the now obsolete Japan New Party, but lost his House of Representatives seat in 1996, only to return to national politics in 2000 on the DPJ ticket and become a lawmaker.

Noda was initially charged with heading the party's public relations office as well as being its Diet affairs chief. When the DPJ secured power of the Diet in September 2009, Noda was appointed senior vice finance minister.

In June 2010 Noda was appointed as Minister of Finance by Kan, himself also a former finance minister.

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