Japan’s new prime minister has named his first cabinet, and the indications are Yoshihiko Noda will be very much the man in charge.
Into the foreign ministry he has placed Koichiro Gemba, whose job it will be to repair ties with America, strained since the Democratic party took power.
But it is at the key finance ministry that Noda has shown his hand by appointing a native of the tsunami-hit northeast. Jun Azumi is Noda’s second choice for the job, and his relative inexperience is being seen as the former finance minister Noda’s way of keeping his hands on the money.
However Azumi should know what the northeast needs in the reconstruction bonanza that is being seen as one of Japan’s best bets to restore growth in the economy. But it will have to be efficient and not sapped by politician’s pet projects if it is to succeed.
The Democrats also need a success. His sluggish response to the tsunami and Fukushima cost Mr. Kan his job. The Democrats will want Mr. Noda, Japan’s sixth prime minister in five years, to last longer.