Yoshihiko Noda

Yoshihiko Noda

Prime Minister of Japan
Date of Birth: 20.05.1957
Country: Japan

Biography of Yoshihiko Noda

Yoshihiko Noda was born on May 20, 1957, in the city of Funabashi, Chiba Prefecture, Japan. He was the Prime Minister of Japan from September 2011. Noda was a member of the Democratic Party of Japan and served as the Minister of Finance from 2010 to 2011 and as the Deputy Minister of Finance from 2009 to 2010. He was elected as a member of the House of Representatives of the Japanese Parliament in 1993, 2000, 2003, 2005, and 2009.

Noda's background was not typical for Japanese politicians, as his father served in the Japan Self-Defense Forces. Despite coming from a modest background, he attended the prestigious Waseda University in Tokyo, where he studied political science and economics, graduating in 1980. Initially, Noda wanted to become a journalist, but his father convinced him to pursue a political career. He then attended the Matsushita Institute of Government and Management, where he completed his studies in 1985. During his education, Noda worked as a tutor and a gas meter controller.

In 1987, Noda was elected to the Chiba Prefectural Council and retained his mandate after the 1991 elections. In 1993, he became a member of the House of Representatives of Japan, representing the fourth electoral district in Chiba as a member and co-founder of the "Nihon Shinto" (Japanese New Party). After the party dissolved in 1994, Noda joined the ranks of the "Shinshintō" party. However, he lost the parliamentary elections in 1996. In 2000, Noda became a member of the House of Representatives from the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) and was subsequently re-elected in 2003, 2005, and 2009.

In 2002, Noda made his first attempt to become the leader of the DPJ, but Yukio Hatoyama was elected as the party's president. Later that year, Noda was appointed as the head of the party's parliamentary affairs division. In 2006, he stepped down from this position after a scandal involving illegal donations to the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) by DPJ representative Hisayasu Nagata. Despite the scandal, Noda's career was not affected negatively. In 2007, he became the head of the DPJ's committee on public relations. Following the DPJ's victory in the September 2009 elections and the election of Yukio Hatoyama as the Prime Minister of Japan, Noda was appointed as the Deputy Minister of Finance. In June 2010, when Naoto Kan became the Prime Minister, Noda succeeded him as the Minister of Finance. As the head of the ministry, Noda attempted to reduce the speculation-driven appreciation of the yen through currency interventions. However, due to the catastrophic consequences of the March 11, 2011 earthquake and tsunami, the yen continued to rise.

Due to a decline in his approval ratings, Naoto Kan announced his resignation as the Prime Minister and President of the DPJ in August 2011. On August 29, Noda was elected as the party's leader, surpassing his fellow party members Banri Kaieda and Seiji Maehara. On September 30, he was approved as the Prime Minister by the House of Representatives and assumed office on September 2, 2011. Noda aimed to address the financial sector's issues, including the budget deficit and the country's growing national debt, which had reached 200% of GDP, by increasing taxes. He also planned to gradually phase out nuclear energy in Japan by banning new nuclear power plants and not extending the operation of existing ones. However, Noda confirmed that all reactors that were shut down after the March earthquake would be restarted with stricter safety regulations. His government also prioritized the reconstruction efforts in the Tohoku region, which was affected by the tsunami and the Fukushima disaster. One of Noda's main tasks as the leader of the DPJ was to restore the party's approval ratings, which had dropped to 21% in August 2011, lower than the LDP's ratings in 2009 when the DPJ managed to form a government.

Noda's foreign policy views were characterized as moderately conservative. He opposed granting voting rights to permanent residents of Korean and Chinese descent living in Japan, a position that was also supported by most of his party members. He expressed concerns about China's military buildup and advocated for strengthening the alliance between Japan and the United States. Noda took a cautious stance on the discussions about Japan's war crimes during World War II, refusing to acknowledge the convicted war leaders as criminals. After assuming office, Noda stated that he would develop a partnership with Russia but it was speculated in the press that his policy on the Kuril Islands issue would not differ significantly from the Kan government's approach. In late October 2011, Noda announced that he would reduce his salary by 30% starting from the following month, and other ministers would receive a 20% salary reduction. This measure was taken to gain public support for the government's plans to raise taxes.

Aside from politics, Noda is a fan of martial arts and holds a black belt (2nd dan) in judo, which he became interested in during his school years. It was reported that before becoming the Minister of Finance, Noda used to visit the nearest railway station every week and discuss his legislative activities with local residents. According to the media, he enjoys watching wrestling on television and is a heavy smoker. Noda is married and has two sons.