Tokyo: Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan on Friday pledged to exert strong leadership both at home and abroad to revitalise the nation, with his approach to be founded on "realism" and the sovereignty of the people.
In his first policy address to parliament as Prime Minister, Kan emphasised that his participation in politics began at a grass-roots level, unlike many of his predecessors who were hereditary politicians.
He said his ultimate goal is turning Japan into a country that will "genuinely" be governed by the wider public, not just a handful of bureaucrats in Tokyo.
Kan, who took office on Tuesday, said "a lack of political leadership" is the biggest cause of Japan`s nearly 20 years of stagnation, and called on the public to place great trust in him, as such leadership can only be exercised with support from the public.
He said his Cabinet has three major goals -- a full-scale cleanup of the post-war government, comprehensive reconstruction of the economy, finances and social welfare, and formulation of responsible diplomatic and security policies.
Vowing to "never turn back the clock”, Kan said his government would press ahead with ongoing reforms made possible by the landslide election victory last year of his Democratic Party of Japan.
The 63-year-old premier said Japan must rebuild its economy, finances and social welfare system all together by pursuing what he calls a "third way”.