New Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda on Tuesday night named Azuma Koshiishi, a senior Democratic Party of Japan lawmaker in the upper house, to be the party secretary general. Koshiishi, 75, is an ally of power broker Ichiro Ozawa whose party membership has been suspended due to a political funds scandal.
When Ozawa was DPJ secretary general, Koshiishi served as his deputy and after Ozawa was indicted, he took over some of his responsibilities. Koshiishi has advocated lifting the suspension of Ozawa's party membership.
After he was elected prime minister in both houses of the Diet on Tuesday, Noda said that one of his most immediate tasks was to unite the fractured DPJ. Koshiishi told reporters that Noda asked him to unite the party and get it to work together like a baseball team.
He also appointed Seiji Maehara, a former foreign minister and one of his rivals in the party presidential elevtion, to the post of party policy research chief. In another appointment, former Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirofumi Hirano will become the DPJ's Diet affairs chief.© Japan Today