Wife sings in tune, with deft low-key support


Hitomi Noda, Japan’s new first lady, will staunchly support her husband but prefers to stay out of the limelight, according to those who know her.

Noda is an “efficient housewife and good mother who seldom seeks the glare of publicity,” said a supporter of Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda in his Chiba Prefecture electoral district.

Noda’s hobby is choral singing, and, according to the couple’s acquaintances, the newly elected head of the ruling Democratic Party of Japan fell in love with her after hearing her beautiful voice.

While she stays out of the spotlight, she is no shrinking violet, and several years ago hosted a meeting of DPJ lawmakers’ wives.

“I thought she was a professional moderator until she introduced herself,” said one of the wives who attended the event, referring to Noda’s deft handling of the meeting.

Noda keeps a generally low profile during her husband’s election campaigns. She does not take the stage at rallies, preferring instead to politely greet his supporters at the entrance, according to a member of the Chiba Prefectural Assembly.

The couple have two sons, one in a university and the other in high school. Noda also cared for her husband’s father at home after he fell ill.

When asked during a news conference Tuesday if he would take his wife with him to an overseas conference, the new prime minister avoided a direct answer, joking: “I first need to form a coalition (with my wife) at home.”