Top executives of Japan's new ruling party were expected to sign off on their leader's choices for key cabinet posts on Monday, a week after the Democratic Party's landslide victory in a national election.
Japanese media have reported that Hirohisa Fujii, 77, would probably be chosen to return as finance minister in Prime Minister-elect Yukio Hatoyama's cabinet -- a role he held briefly in the early 1990s.
But it was unclear whether the choice would be finalised before Hatoyama, who will take office on Sept. 16, cements a proposed coalition with tiny parties whose cooperation is needed to control parliament's upper house.
The huge election win by the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) ended half a century of almost unbroken rule by the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), and breaks a deadlock in parliament.
Hatoyama said on Saturday that he would tap Naoto Kan, a 62-year-old former health minister, to head a powerful new agency to oversee the budget process and set policy priorities.
Hatoyama also said Katsuya Okada, 56, would become foreign minister, "a post being closely watched in Washington because his party has vowed a more independent diplomatic course."
Japanese media said Kan would also hold the post of party policy chief, thus centralising decisions inside the cabinet.
"If the party's policy chief will also serve as the minister in charge of the National Strategic Bureau, that will be the centre of policy-making," Hatoyama said on Friday.
Talks with two tiny potential coalition partners have been proceeding in parallel with Hatoyama's personnel moves.
Despite their huge election win in parliament's powerful lower house, the Democrats need the cooperation of the Social Democrats and the conservative People's New Party to keep control of the upper chamber to ensure laws are enacted smoothly.
Last Mod: 07 Eylül 2009, 12:15