Populist Naoto Kan Promises To 'Rebuild' Japan As New PM

Japan’s new prime minister, Naoto Kan, launched his premiership last week with a promise to “rebuild” his country and restore his party’s fortunes after a week of humiliation.The former finance minister beat his rival, Shinji Tarutoko, in a June 4 vote among members of parliament belonging to the ruling Democratic Party of Japan [DPJ], just two days after Yukio Hatoyama resigned for his woeful handling of the relocation of a US airbase in Okinawa.Mr. Kan, Japan’s sixth prime minister in four years, is the first leader in 14 years not to hail from a political dynasty. An outspoken politician, he is targeting issues from Japan’s public debt – the highest in the industrialized world – to regaining public trust in the tarnished political class to spurring growth in a fast-graying society.