JAPAN’S new prime minister admits he is no Mr Charisma – Yoshihiko Noda likens himself to a marine bottom-feeder rather than a glittering goldfish. But that, he says, is his appeal.
JAPAN’S new prime minister admits he is no Mr Charisma- Yoshihiko Noda likens himself to a marine bottom-feederrather than a glittering goldfish. But that, he says, is his appeal.
The 54-year-old, who as finance minister kept to ploddingstatements so as not to spookfinancial markets, stresses his credentials as a responsible, moderate and middle-of-the road leader at a time of national crisis.
When he announced his candidacy in an essay in a conservative magazine this month, Mr Noda said: "I am an ordinary man. I do not have large financial resources… I am not stylish and my looks are not my selling point."
On Monday, making his final pitchfor the leadership of the ruling Democratic Party of Japan, he used the fish metaphor, humbly telling his fellow DPJ MPs: "I am a loach. I can’t be a goldfish."
The son of a paratrooperin the Self-Defence Forces, Noda, a married father of two, holds broadly conservative political views.
This month, on the anniversary of Japan’s World War II surrender, he angered neighbour South Korea when he said that Japanese Class-A war criminals convicted by an Allied tribunalwere in fact not war criminals.
Noda is a graduate of the prestigious Waseda University’s School of Political Science and Economics.
He then joined the Matsushita Institute of Government and Management, set up by Panasonic founder and business guruKonosuke Matsushita.
The elite leadership course trains its students in management skills and world affairs, but also in ancient arts such as the Japanese tea ceremony, kendostick fighting and Zen meditation.
Mr Noda is the first Matsushita alumnusto lead Japan.
He was first elected at age 29 to the legislature of Chiba outside Tokyo and entered national politics in his mid-30s with the short-lived Japan New Party of Morihiro Hosokawa, who later became prime minister.
spook: to startle and cause nervous activity in; frighten（吓唬）
pitch: a line of talk designed to persuade（演说）