The formal election in parliament as Japan’s Prime Minister was a moment for Yukio Hatoyama to savour. But now the pressure will be on his untested government to deliver on its campaign pledges, especially to revive Japan’s struggling economy.
Hatoyama’s centre-left party trounced Taro Aso’s long-ruling conservative Liberal Democrats in last month’s election. Hatoyama has given every sign that he is hitting the ground running. No sooner was his premiership made official in parliament, than he confirmed his cabinet – including ministers from the two smaller parties in his coalition. Declaring “the fight begins now”, Hatoyama said he was excited at the prospect of changing history as well as feeling the weight of responsibility involved. And history this is. Hatoyama’s landslide election win ended half a century of almost unbroken rule by the Liberal Democrats. Voters were won over by the prospect of change, with more social spending and less bureaucratic control over policy. Many people are also fascinated by the new first lady. A former musical actress, Miyuki Hatoyama claims, among other things, to have travelled to Venus in an alien space ship.