Yoshihiko Noda became the new prime minister of Japan today, ending months of speculation about the successor to Naoto Kan. Kan had been a lame duck prime minister since the March earthquake and tsunami, as, despite an overall superb effort of rescue and reconstruction, he was forced to take responsibility for the disaster and especially the 'crisis' at the Fukushima nuclear plant. He finally resigned on Friday, and the Democratic Party of Japan chose their new leader today.
Noda's triumph was not easy; the contest became a battle between Ichiro Ozawa and his enemies. Ozawa himself could not run, as his very membership of the party is suspended due to a funding scandal, but his personal favourite Kaeda Banri stepped in for him. In this light, Noda's victory represents a victory for the anti-Ozawa faction. We shall have to see how he performs. He is said to be a fiscal conservative. Look for a rise in the consumption tax.
That's Japan's sixth prime minister in five years.