Naoto Kan is designated PM of Japan

Kan emerged as the successor to Yukio Hatoyama after his resignation as Prime Minister and DPJ leader and the resignation of Hatoyama’s backer in the party, DPJ Secretary General Ichiro Ozawa.

Naoto Kan 菅 直人

Foreign minister Katsuya Okada and transportation minister Seiji Maehara were also considered possible successor to Hatoyama immediately after the latter’s announcement, but both quickly announced support for Kan.

Another less well known contender, Shinji Tarutoko, a legislator who leads the environmental policy committee in the lower house of Parliament, was defeated.

He gained national popularity in 1996 when as health minister he exposed the minister’s responsibility for the spread of tainted blood.

At that time, he was a member of a small party forming the ruling coalition with the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP). His action was completely unprecedented and was applauded by the mainstream media and the public.

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