El nuevo primer ministro japonés

Japan's new prime minister

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.

Reporter: Roland Buerk

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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

Listen to the words

rose to his feet se paró

from humble beginnings de una familia humilde

a salaryman(expresión usada en Japón) para una persona que trabaja en una oficina y recibe un sueldo, un asalariado


to revive the sluggish economyrevivir la economía lenta

to mend relations with sanar las relaciones con (su principal aliado, EE.UU.)

strained by the rowdificultadas por la disputa

brought downcausó la renuncia

to recapture the optimismrecuperar el optimismo