Is this man the next Prime Minister of Japan? Will Yukio Hatoyama, the leader of the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ), defeat the hapless and gaff-prone Taro Aso in the upcoming general election? What kind of man is he?
Born in 1947, Hatoyama replaced Ichiro Ozawa as leader of the DPJ earlier this year, after the latter became embroiled in a financing scandal involving political donations from a construction company.
Hatoyama, like Aso, is a mega-rich, blue-blooded, hereditary politician and likewise a grandson of a former conservative party prime minister, Ichiro Hatoyama (1883-1959) - one of the founders of the LDP.
Hatoyama's father Iichiro Hatoyama was Japan's foreign minister for a period in the 1970s. His brother Kunio Hatoyama is now a leading LDP politician and green-advocate.
Yukio Hatoyama is a graduate of Tokyo University with a PhD from Stanford University in the US.
Hatoyama is considered to be the richest man in the Japanese Diet (Parliament) with an estimated 1.65 billion yen in personal assets, four times those of Aso. These figures exclude more billions tied up in Bridgestone shares - Yukio's father married into the family of the Bridgestone tire empire - the world's largest tire manufacturer.
Hatoyama entered politics as an LDP member of the Lower House in 1986, leaving the LDP in 1993 to form the short-lived New Party Sakigake, before setting up the DJP with Naoto Kan and his brother Kunio.
A social conservative, Hatoyama's stated policy initiatives include allowing women to ascend to the imperial throne and amending the constitution to redefine the Japanese Defence Forces (SDF) as the country's army.
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Tuesday, July 21, 2009