TOKYO (Reuters) - Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan is likely to appoint former finance minister Kaoru Yosano, a fiscal hawk, to a key post when he reshuffles his cabinet on Friday, domestic media reported.
Below are some key facts about Yosano:
— Yosano, 72, has long been known as an advocate of raising the 5 percent sales tax to fund bulging social security costs for Japan’s rapidly aging society.
— He was a key architect of economic policy in then-Prime Minister Taro Aso’s Liberal Democratic Party-led government before the LDP was defeated by Kan’s Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) in a historic 2009 election. He held three economic portfolios — on finance, the economy and banking supervision.
— At that time he spearheaded government plans to spend 27 trillion yen ($325 billion) to stimulate the economy in the midst of a deep recession, saying he would temporarily give up his zeal for fiscal reform.
— Yosano left the LDP in 2010 to co-found the small, conservative Sunrise Party with a former trade minister, Takeo Hiranuma. The party’s platform calls for raising the sales tax to 8 percent from 2012/13 before raising it to 12-15 percent after the economy recovers. It also favors lowering the corporate tax to 30 percent from 2012/13.
Yosano said on Thursday he would leave the Sunrise Party, which last month rejected an offer from Kan to join the ruling bloc.
— Yosano has held key government and ruling party posts for many years, including a stint as economics minister under former Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi in 2005-2006, and is known to have extensive connections among government bureaucrats.
— In late 2006 he resigned from the post of chairman of the LDP’s powerful tax panel due to throat cancer. After surgery to remove a tumor and some time off, he returned to politics.
— The grandson of two well-known poets and a graduate of the prestigious University of Tokyo, Yosano is a master player of Japan’s chess-like game of Go.
Reporting by Hideyuki Sano and Linda Sieg; Editing by Michael Watson