FACTBOX-Possible successors to Japan Finance Minister Kan

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TOKYO, June 2 (BestGrowthStock) – Japan will need to choose a new
finance minister if Naoto Kan wins a Democratic Party election to
become its new leader after Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama
resigned. [ID:nTOE65100Q]

The new finance minister will be partly responsible for
drawing up a fiscal discipline target and a growth strategy that
the Democratic Party-led government is scheduled to announce by
the end of this month.

Credit ratings agencies have said Japan risks a downgrade if
it doesn’t offer a convincing plan to lower its debt burden, the
worst among industrialised countries.

The new finance minister will also need to coordinate with
counterparts in other countries as officials respond to Europe’s
debt woes and large swings in currencies and stocks.

The Bank of Japan has shown that it is willing to cooperate
with the government’s economic strategies but could come under
criticism from the new finance minister to do more if the economy
worsens.

Following are possible successors and what they could mean
for policy:

YOSHIHIKO NODA, DEPUTY FINANCE MINISTER

As one of Kan’s two deputies, Noda, 53, has been mostly in
charge of international finance and has occasionally attended
overseas meetings on behalf of the finance minister.

He favours fiscal discipline and has spoken in support of
Kan’s call to cap new bond issuance for next fiscal year’s
budget. Noda has also said that Greece’s debt problems are a sign
that Japan needs to lower its debt.

Noda brushed off speculation of currency intervention when
the yen jumped to a 14-year high against the dollar in November.

Noda started in regional politics in 1993, joined the
Democrats a decade ago and has served as the party’s shadow
finance minister as well as head of parliamentary affairs, giving
him experience in tough negotiations.

YOSHITO SENGOKU, NATIONAL STRATEGY MINISTER

A lawyer-turned-politician, Sengoku, 64, has said he feels a
“sense of crisis” about Japan’s fiscal situation and that Japan
should learn from Greece’s mistakes in managing its public
finances. Sengoku has also openly called for debate on raising
the consumption tax from the current 5 percent, a step that many
economists say is necessary to improve the budget deficit.

Sengoku’s National Strategy Bureau is taking the lead in
compiling the fiscal discipline target due this month.

Despite being a former member of the now defunct Socialist
Party, he supports free-market policies, having criticised
proposals that could lead to the postal system’s banking services
hurting business for regional lenders.

NAOKI MINEZAKI, DEPUTY FINANCE MINISTER:

An ex-union official and upper house lawmaker, Minezaki, 65,
is Kan’s other deputy and well versed in tax, financial and
monetary policies.

He was mainly in charge of compiling the government’s tax
guidelines for the current fiscal year, which included raising
the tobacco tax and keeping a surcharge on gasoline to cover tax
revenue shortfalls.

Minezaki told Reuters in February that he didn’t think a
rigid inflation target could help pull Japan out of deflation.
[ID:nTKF106870]

Minezaki has mostly followed the finance ministry’s official
line on currencies and told Reuters last October that Japan
should not intervene just because the yen rises. [ID:nT362093]

Stock Market Analysis
(Reporting by Stanley White and Chisa Fujioka; Editing by Chris
Gallagher)

FACTBOX-Possible successors to Japan Finance Minister Kan