June 3 Shinji Tarutoko, a relatively unknown
lawmaker from Japan's ruling Democratic Party, said on Thursday
he would run for the party leadership to replace Prime Minister
The Democrats will vote on Friday to pick a new leader, and
hence the prime minister. Tarutoko will face Finance Minister
Naoto Kan, who is seen as the front-runner to succeed Hatoyama,
who resigned on Wednesday after just eight months in office.
Following are some facts about Tarutoko.
-- Tarutoko, 50, heads the lower house environment committee.
In a survey by the Mainichi newspaper ahead of last year's
general election, Tarutoko backed the party line that a decision
on raising the consumption tax from the current 5 percent should
wait until after the next general election, due by late 2013. He
also said he did not rate former Prime Minister Junichiro
Koizumi's structural reforms very highly. But not much is known
about his recent views on economic policy.
-- He is one of seven members of a group led by party elder
Kozo Watanabe that has distanced itself from party heavyweight
Ichiro Ozawa, who is widely seen as pulling the strings behind
Hatoyama's government. But he is also reported to be close to
-- In the Mainichi survey, Tarutoko said he was for revising
the pacifist Article Nine of Japan's 1947 U.S.-drafted
constitution but also said Japan should never consider arming
with nuclear weapons.
-- After graduating from the economics department of Osaka
University, Tarutoko went to a school for political leaders that
embraces free-market economic policies, called the Matsushita
Institute of Government and Management, which boasts 70
politicians among its alumni including some cabinet members.
(Reporting by Yoko Nishikawa and Chisa Fujioka; Editing by