Japan's new Prime minister, Naoto Kan, came to office after the resignation of his predecessor Yukio Hatoyama early last month, becoming Japan's fifth premier in only four years.
A native of Ube in Yamaguchi Prefecture, Kan studied physics at Tokyo Institute of Technology and has a background in patent law and as a grass-roots activist.
Kan served as Health Minister in a coalition government headed by the LDP in 1996 and is popular for his role in admitting the Japanese government's responsibility for the spread of imported HIV-tainted blood among hemophiliacs in the 1980s.
Kan has led the DPJ before when he stood unsuccessfully against the LDP's Junichiro Koizumi in the 2003 general election, but stepped down in the wake of the unpaid pension contributions scandal sweeping through Japan's lawmakers at the time. Kan is seen as an opponent of Ichiro Ozawa's influence within the DPJ.
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