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Naoto Kan


Incumbent
Assumed office 
January 6, 2010
Preceded by Hirohisa Fujii

Born October 10, 1946 (1946-10-10) (age 63)
Ube, Yamaguchi Prefecture
Nationality Japanese
Political party Democratic Party of Japan
Website http://www.n-kan.jp/

Naoto Kan (菅 直人 Kan Naoto, born October 10, 1946) is a Japanese politician who is currently Finance Minister. He was also the leader of the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ), the largest opposition party in the Diet, from 2002 to 2004. Kan was also Minister for Health and Welfare for a time in the 1990s.

Born in Ube City, Yamaguchi Prefecture as the son of businessman, Kan graduated in 1970 from the Tokyo Institute of Technology, and opened a patent office in 1974. He actively engaged in civic movements for years and achieved a seat in the lower house in 1980 as a member of Socialist Democratic Federation (SDF) through a grassroots environmental campaign. He gained national popularity in 1996 when as health minister he exposed the minister's responsibility for the spread of tainted blood. At that time, he was a member of a small party forming the ruling coalition with the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP). His action was completely unprecedented and was applauded by the mainstream media and the public. Kan also wrote a best-selling book Dai-jin (lit. minister) in which he writes that ministers should answer to the Emperor.

In 1998, he admitted that he failed to make payments into the state pension scheme for ten months. Although the amounts were relatively small, he left to avoid hurting the party. Additionally, his image had been hurt by the revelation of an affair with a television newscaster. After Yukio Hatoyama resigned as the leader of the party, Kan again took over the position. In July 2003, the DPJ and the Liberal Party led by Ichirō Ozawa agreed to form a uniformed opposition party to prepare for the general election that was anticipated to take place in the fall.

During the campaign of the election of 2003, the DPJ called the election as the choice of the government between the ruling LDP-bloc and the DPJ, with Kan being presented as the alternative candidate to then Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi. His face was used as the trademark of the campaign against the LDP.

However, in 2004, Kan was accused of unpaid annuities and forced to again resign the position of leader. On May 10 2004, he officially announced his resignation.

In mid-October 2005, Kan, who turned 60 in 2006, proposed the creation of a new political party to be called the "Dankai (baby boomer) Party." The initial intent of the party was to offer places of activity for the Japanese baby boomers - 2.7 million of whom began to retire en masse in 2007.

His hobby is Go, and he has a wife and two sons, and lives in Tokyo.

Kan consistently proves himself to be decisive, but has earned the nicknames ‘Ira-Kan’ and ‘Fretful-Kan’ due to his reputed short temper. He believes the Japan Self-Defense Forces should play a more prominent role on the international stage.[1]

Finance Minister

On January 6, 2010, he was picked by Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama to be the new Finance Minister, assuming the post in addition to deputy prime minister.[2] In his first news conference, Kan announced his priority was stimulating growth and took the unusual step of naming a specific dollar-yen level as optimal to help exporters and stimulate the economy. "There are a lot of voices in the business world saying that (the dollar) around ¥95 is appropriate in terms of trade," he said.[3] In remarks, Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama appeared to rebuke Kan. "When it comes to foreign exchange, stability is desirable and rapid moves are undesirable. The government basically shouldn't comment on foreign exchange," he told reporters.[4]

House of Representatives of Japan
Preceded by
Kiyoshi Ōno
Akira Kudō
Shōzō Hasegawa
Kiyoshi Ozawa
Representative for Tokyo's 7th district (multi-member)
1980 – 1996
Served alongside: Shōzō Hasegawa, Kiyoshi Ozawa, Kiyoshi Ōno, Kōichirō Watanabe, Yuriko Ōno
Constituency abolished
New constituency Representative for Tokyo's 18th district
1996–
Incumbent
Political offices
Preceded by
Chūryō Morii
Minister of Health and Welfare
1996
Succeeded by
Junichiro Koizumi
Preceded by
Wataru Kubo (1996)
Minister of State (Deputy Prime Minister)
2009–
Incumbent
Preceded by
Yoshimasa Hayashi
Minister of State for Economic and Fiscal Policy
2009–
Preceded by
Hirohisa Fujii
Minister of Finance of Japan
2010 -
New title Minister of State in charge of National Strategy
2009–2010
Succeeded by
Yoshito Sengoku
Preceded by
Seiko Noda
Minister of State for Science and Technology Policy
2009–2010
Succeeded by
Tatsuo Kawabata
Party political offices
New political party Leader of the Democratic Party
1996–1997
Served alongside: Yukio Hatoyama
Succeeded by
Himself
Preceded by
Yukio Hatoyama
Himself
Leader of the Democratic Party
1997–1998
New political party President of the Democratic Party
1998–1999
Succeeded by
Katsuya Okada
Preceded by
Tsutomu Hata
Secretary General of the Democratic Party
2000–2002
Succeeded by
Kansei Nakano
Preceded by
Yukio Hatoyama
President of the Democratic Party
2002–2004
Succeeded by
Katsuya Okada

References

External links

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