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Democratic Party of Japan leader Yukio Hatoyama became Japan’s new prime minister Wednesday as the Diet voted him in to the post, ending the long rule by the Liberal Democratic Party, which has been in power almost continously since late 1955. In an interesting historical twist, the new prime minister’s grandfather, the late Ichiro Hatoyama, served as the first prime minister of the LDP.

True to his determination to give Japan a solid new start, Mr. Hatoyama has placed party heavyweights in key Cabinet positions: former DPJ chief Naoto Kan, as vice prime minister, is in charge of the National Strategy Bureau directly under the prime minister and must work out a vision for Japan and a budget outline; former party chief Katsuya Okada is foreign minister; former party head Seiji Maehara is infrastructure and transport minister; and former finance minister Hirohisa Fujii is assigned to the same portfolio.

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