Sept. 2 - New Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda appoints his cabinet, picks inexperienced lawmaker as finance minister. Toshi Maeda reports.
Japan's new prime minister Yoshihiko Noda launched his Cabinet Friday (September 2), picking a relatively inexperienced lawmaker as finance minister. Noda's decision to tap Jun Azumi, a 49-year-old former TV announcer, for the finance portfolio signals the prime minister himself will call the shots on key economic policies. Noda was the finance minister until last week, and is a fiscal hawk keen to rein in Japan's huge national debt. Appointed as Japan's new foreign minister is Koichiro Gemba, a 47-year-old former national strategy minister. Japanese media was quick to nickname Noda's new team the "Loach cabinet" after the new prime minister compared himself to the freshwater fish that looks like a small eel during his campaign speech, saying: "I am a loach. A loach does not have to emulate a goldfish." (SOUNDBITE) (Japanese) JAPANESE CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY OSAMU FUJIMURA, SAYING: "We hope to use the right people for the right jobs. Prime Minister Noda has said that he is a loach fish, and so we hope to likewise do our best and make politics better, even if we do have to crawl through the mud to do it." Meanwhile, outgoing leader Naoto Kan left the prime minister's office Friday (September 2) with flowers and to applause. Kan held the top job for almost 15 months, with Noda now Japan's sixth premier in five years. Toshi Maeda, Reuters.