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Japan's parliament votes in new premier

RIA Novosti

11:46 16/09/2009 TOKYO, September 16 (RIA Novosti) - Japanese lawmakers elected center-left former opposition leader Yukio Hatoyama as prime minster on Wednesday, ending half a century of almost continual conservative rule.

Parliament held a special session to vote in the new premier, whose Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) won a landslide victory last month's general election on promises to reverse the country's economic decline and cut taxes and bureaucracy.

"I have mixed feelings of excitement about changing history and the very heavy responsibility of making history," Hatoyama, 62, said after the vote.

His first task will to formally appoint a new Cabinet. The premier has named former DPJ leader Katsuya Okada for the post of foreign minister, and party secretary general Hirohisa Fujii is expected to become finance chief.

Until the election, Taro Aso's Liberal Democratic Party had maintained virtually unbroken power in Japan since 1955, apart from a 10-month break in 1993.

Hatoyama, the grandson of former premier Ichiro Hatoyama and son of former foreign minister Ichiro Hatoyama, has led the DPJ for 11 years. He was previously an assistant professor at Tokyo Institute of Technology, and holds an engineering PhD from Stanford University.


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