4 June 2010
Japan has a new prime minister, the fifth in three years.
He's the former finance minister, Naoto Kan, who takes over from Yukio Hatoyama who resigned suddenly on Wednesday.
Click to hear the report:
Naoto Kan rose to his feet and bowed to acknowledge the applause as the Diet voted him Prime Minister of Japan.
The former finance minister has made it to the top from humble beginnings. He's described his father as 'a salaryman'. His four immediate predecessors were the sons or grandsons of prime ministers.
Mr Kan has said his first priority is to revive the sluggish economy, all but certain to be overtaken by China this year as the second biggest in the world. He must also try to mend relations with Japan's main ally, the United States, strained by the row over an American military base on Okinawa which brought down the last prime minister.
His toughest task may be to recapture the optimism that accompanied the Democratic Party's rise to power just nine months ago when it ousted the conservatives who dominated the post-war era.
The new prime minister won't have long to impress. Elections to the less powerful upper house of the Diet, seen as a referendum on the government's performance, are due within weeks.
Roland Buerk, BBC News, Japan
Click to hear the vocabulary:
- rose to his feet
- from humble beginnings
from an average family
- a salaryman
an expression used in Japanese to refer to a man who works in an office and is paid a salary
people who had the job before him
- to revive the sluggish economy
to bring life back to the economy which at the moment is performing poorly
- to mend relations with
to fix a relationship that has become damaged or broken
- strained by the row
made difficult by the argument
- brought down
caused the resignation of
- to recapture the optimism
to bring back the positive feeling and atmosphere
won against and replaced