Friday, June 11, 2010

Buddhist Personality : Naoto Kan

Name : Naoto Kan
Nationality : Japanese
Date Of Birth : 10th October 1946
Profession : Prime Minister

Naoto Kan is the leader of the Democratic Party Of Japan (DPJ) and the new Prime Minister of Japan. On June 2, 2010 his predecessor, Yukio Hatoyama resigned as the leader of the (DPJ) as well as his post as Prime Minister. As Finance Minister then, Naoto Kan was designated as the Prime Minister on June 4 and was formally appointed as Japan's 94th Prime Minister by Emperor Akihito on June 8, 2010.

Unlike most of his predecessors, Kan who is often known as Ira-ken due to his short temper, comes from an ordinary working class family. He is an outspoken populist who started his political career as an environmental campaigner. An aspiring scientist in his youth, Kan majored in physics at the Tokyo Institute of Technology and opened his own patent office in 1974. He made his political debut shortly thereafter as a civic activist and entered the Japanese parliament in 1980 as a member of the lower house.

It was after exposing a massive scandal, however, that Kan truly burst onto the national scene in the 1990s, as health minister in the LDP government. HIV-tainted blood was entering the country's blood supply, and the government had been covering it up. Kan exposed the details to public acclaim.

However, Kan soon faced his own series of scandals. In 1998, he resigned his post after his affair with a television newscaster went public and he simultaneously admitted that he had failed to pay into the national pension fund. Just five years later, Kan was forced to resign from his leadership of the DPJ over another failure to pay. This time, Kan made formal penance: He shaved his head, put on a Buddhist monk's robes, and traveled to the traditional pilgrimage destination of Shikoku island and its 88 temples. It worked. Japan's comeback kid, he remained a senior figure inside the DPJ and served as deputy prime minister and finance minister in the Hatoyama cabinet.

Immediately after his appointment as Japan's new Prime Minister, Kan promised to "rebuild the country" as it confronts economic stagnation, mounting public debt and regional instability.