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DPJ's Yokomichi becomes lower house speaker.

TOKYO, Sept. 16 Kyodo

The House of Representatives on Wednesday elected 68-year-old veteran Democratic Party of Japan lawmaker Takahiro Yokomichi as speaker, shifting the post from the hands of the long-governing Liberal Democratic Party.

The seat of lower house vice speaker in turn went to the LDP's Seishiro Eto, also 68, during a special Diet session convened to pick Japan's new premier.

The speaker's post has long been held by the LDP, which has ruled the country for over 50 years almost without a break, and Yokomichi is the first non-LDP speaker to take the post since the Socialist Party of Japan's Takako Doi held it in 1993.

The DPJ sought to take both the speaker and vice speaker posts following its landslide victory in the latest general election that gave it 308 of the 480 seats in the lower house, but yielded to LDP objections and gave the deputy post to the party that has now become the biggest opposition.

At the House of Councillors, the upper house president's post is held by Satsuki Eda from the DPJ and the vice president's post by Akiko Santo from the LDP.

Yokomichi replaced the LDP's Yohei Kono, who retained the post for the longest period in Japanese political history at 2,029 days, and Eto took over the vice speaker post which was held by Yokomichi until the lower chamber was dissolved in July.

The lower house elected the DPJ's Takeaki Matsumoto as its steering committee chairman and also set the period of the special Diet session to four days through Saturday.

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Publication:Japan Policy & Politics
Date:Sep 21, 2009
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