Profile: Naoto Kan

Leftist campaigner turned fiscal conservative becomes fifth leader in less than four years.

    Kan, a technocrat, founded the DPJ with Hatoyama, the outgoing prime minister, in 1996 [AFP]

    Naoto Kan, has become Japan's new prime minister, after the governing Democratic Party (DPJ) selected him as its new leader.

    Unlike many Japanese legislators, Kan is not from a political family but the son of a businessman from Yamaguchi in the south.

    Nor was he ever a member of the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), the party that ruled Japan for more than five decades.

    Before holding a series of senior positions, including health and finance minister, Kan, 63, became a veteran in the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ). He co-founded the party in 1996 and has led the party twice.

    Born on October 10, 1946, in Yamaguchi prefecture, Kan was a graduate of the Tokyo Institute of Technology.

    After being engaged in civic activities in the 1970s, he was first elected to the lower chamber of Japan's Diet in 1980 as a member of a small opposition party.

    'Irritable Kan'

    In September 1996, Kan co-founded the DPJ with Yukio Hatoyama, the outgoing prime minister, and served as the party's co-president.

    In September 1997, Kan was elected as party president and re-elected in January 1998. He remained in the position until September 1999, despite the DPJ's merger with three other smaller parties.

    From September 2000 to September 2002, Kan served as secretary-general of the DPJ. In December 2002, he was elected again as party president until he resigned in May 2004.

    Kan became deputy prime minister in September of 2009 in the Hatoyama administration and has been finance minister since January 2010.

    Kan has been nicknamed "Ira-Kan" - "Irritable Kan" - by local press due to his reputation for having explosive outbursts.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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