Confirmed as Japan’s new prime minister, Taro Aso has promised emergency action to halt the country’s economic slump. The outspoken conservative is seen as an advocate of spending and tax cuts as ways of boosting the economy.
Aso spoke at a media briefing after being voted in as prime minister by parliament. “It is obviously necessary for us to take emergency measures to respond to the present recession. In particular we must help small and medium sized businesses who are troubled at the end of the year with funding because of high oil prices and the fall-out from the sub-prime loan problem. There are many kinds of problems and it is clear that we have fallen into recession this year. We must think hard how to respond to this.”
Aso has appointed several right-wing allies from his party’s ranks to the new cabinet. Former trade minister and fierce critic of China Shoichi Nakagawa becomes Minister of Finance and Financial Services.
Aso’s rival in the race for the leadership, Kaoro Yosano, will keep the post of Economics Minister, despite their reported differences over how best to reform Japan’s economy. It is thought Aso will soon call a snap election, perhaps for early November, in a bid to add the electorate’s stamp of approval to that of parliament.