Finance Minister Fuji Resigns – First Blow to Japanese Prime Minister Hatoyama

Since becoming Prime Minister last September, Yukio Hatoyama has had a dedicated cabinet. The Prime Minister and his cabinet have stood fast to battle both a horrible economic downturn in Japan and also the many issues arising from an aging population. However in recent weeks concerns have risen in regards to his Finance Minister’s health (aged 77), in particular high blood pressure. The Prime Minister’s initial reaction was to try to keep him on regardless, as Fuji-san is one of his most experienced and capable cabinet members.

Last night however the Prime Minister called a press conference where he caved in to letting Finance Minister Fuji step down. Each newspaper reported a slightly different take on the event:

Yomiuri ” Next Finance Minister Nominated, he’ll share the position with Sengoku Yoshito” The Yomiuri reported that the Prime Minister had allowed Finance Minister Fuji to resign, and commented (like every other paper) that this is Prime Minister Hatoyama’s first resignation of his cabinet. There was an interesting word choice however used by Yomiuri in its text at the end, stating Sengoku Yoshito will be “forced” to share the position with the new finance minister. (兼務させる)

Asahi “The Prime Minister Announces the Finance Minister’s Successor” The Asahi mentions that Sengoku Yoshito, in order to relieve the burden on the Finance Minister’s successor, will “help with his duties.” They also reported that after long deliberation, the Prime Minister allowed the Finance Minister to resign his post. They also added that his successor, Mr. Kan, is well versed with the DPJ (Democratic Party of Japan) and his experiences with their Manifesto, etc.

Nikkei “Next Finance Minister will share responsibilities with Sengoku Yoshito” The Nikkei give a different spin on the event vs. Asahi. The last comment they made was that the Finance Minister had a large role in the administration, and his departure might have a huge impact on the Prime Minister’s administration.