Newly elected Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda picked a little known policymaker as his successor as finance minister.
Jun Azumi was chosen after Yoshihido Noda’s first choice for finance minister turned down the highly demanding job.
The new Prime Minister’s government faces a long list of challenges dealing with a strong yen as well as implementing a new energy policy while ending a radiation crisis at a crippled nuclear plant, rebuilding Japan’s tsunami-devastated northeast and finding funds to pay for that and the vast costs of social welfare in an ageing society.
The new finance minister has previously held the post of deputy defence minister but little is known about his views on fiscal policy. His first task will be to oversee the drafting of a third extra budget to fund reconstruction of Japan’s northeast region, devastated by the huge March 11 earthquake and tsunami. Azumi was actually born in a town in northeast Japan badly hit by the tsunami.
Taking over the finance portfolio is probably the toughest cabinet job. The new finance minister has to try to contain ballooning debt while seeking to stimulate growth in an economy trying to recover after being crippled by the devastating earthquake.