This is IN THE NEWS in VOA
parliament is expected to vote on September sixteenth to make Yukio Hatoyama
the next prime minister. Later this month he plans to attend the United Nations
General Assembly in New York and the Group of Twenty meeting in Pittsburgh,
Democratic Party of Japan ended more than fifty years of nearly continuous rule
by the Liberal Democratic Party. The D.P.J. won almost two-thirds of the seats
in lower house elections last Sunday. Not bad after just eleven years as a
Yet many observers see the results as
more a rejection of the old than an acceptance of the new. Many voters were
dissatisfied with the L.D.P. and its reaction to Japan's worst recession since
the Second World War. Japan has the world's second largest economy after the
Taro Aso, prime
minister since last September, resigned as leader of the L.D.P. after its
Yukio Hatoyama is sixty-two years
old. He trained as an engineer at Stanford University in California. He is one
of Japan's wealthiest lawmakers. He once belonged to the L.D.P. In fact, his
grandfather, a former prime minister, helped form the party. But he says the
Liberal Democrats left policymaking to aging politicians out of touch with the
needs of the people.
next prime minister promises to clear out government bureaucrats. But there are
risks if the D.P.J. dismisses experienced civil servants. Almost half of its newly
elected members have never served as lawmakers.
Hatoyama promises "revolutionary change." He says he wants to move
resources away from corporations and toward families in the form of child care
support and free education. He wants to take Japan in a new economic direction,
away from what he considers the undesirable parts of American-style capitalism.
campaign promises also included seeking greater independence from American policies
and closer ties with China and other neighbors in Asia.
may not extend Japan's operation to refuel ships for the war in Afghanistan.
And the D.P.J. has questioned an agreement about an American Marine base on the
island of Okinawa. But the United States says deals governing the forty-seven
thousand American troops in Japan are not up for renegotiation.
Japan's next leader says his
policies are not anti-American. He spoke to President Barack Obama by phone. He
said Japan's alliance with the United States will remain what he called the
"foundation" of his government's diplomacy.
The White House says President
Obama stated his strong wish to work together to strengthen global economic
recovery and fight climate change. Other wishes included working for a
nuclear-free Korea and to defeat extremists in Afghanistan.
first test of the new government's popularity may come next year in upper house
elections in Japan.
that's IN THE NEWS in VOA Special English, written by Brianna Blake with Kate
Woodsome. I'm Steve Ember.