Japan`s Finance Minister may be Naoshima, not Fujii
Tokyo: Japan`s leader-to-be Yukio Hatoyama may choose Masayuki Naoshima, his party`s policy chief, as finance minister instead of Hirohisa Fujii, a former finance ministry official, Kyodo news agency reported on Monday.
Fujii, a veteran lawmaker who briefly served as finance minister in the 1990s, has been widely tipped by Japanese media as likely to take the post. Known as a fiscal conservative, he would be welcomed by markets concerned about ballooning public debt as Japan struggles out of recession.
Naoshima is not known for commenting on monetary policy, but has said the Democratic Party`s plans for family subisidies and abolishing highway tolls could be funded by tapping reserves and cutting wastein other areas.
One newspaper has said Fujii might be facing opposition from the Democrats` powerful former leader, Ichiro Ozawa, saying it was a sign Hatoyama might have trouble controlling the party after taking office this week.
Hatoyama said he would begin choosing ministers on Tuesday after a meeting of all the party`s lawmakers. Some analysts shrugged off media suggestions that he would be controlled by his predecessor.
"It`s entertaining to talk about Ozawa doing everything, but I don`t think its a big worry," said Yasunori Sone of Keio University.
Kyodo, citing Democratic Party officials, said Naoshima had been almost certain to become economy, trade and industry minister, but may take up the post of finance minister instead.
Asahi TV said Fujii might instead be given the post of deputy cabinet secretary, which would allow him to use his experience to support the Prime Minister.
The Democrats` two tiny coalition partners are set to get a post apiece in the new cabinet, media reports say.
Shizuka Kamei of the conservative People`s New Party may be handed the defence portfolio and Mizuho Fukushima of the Social Democrats may be given roles responsible for policies to raise the birthrate and protect consumers, the Asahi newspaper said.
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