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PROFILE: New national policy chief Gemba known as fiscal conservative.

TOKYO, Sept. 17 Kyodo

Koichiro Gemba, who was named as new national policy minister, is known as a fiscal conservative advocating the need to discuss raising the nation's consumption tax and review the Democratic Party of Japan's campaign pledges in the 2009 general election.

Gemba, 46, who has also been leading debates aimed at giving more power to local authorities, concurrently serves as chairman of the DPJ's Policy Research Committee -- a post he has retained since Prime Minister Naoto Kan took office in early June.

He was a core member of the group of DPJ lawmakers who demanded that the party revive the policy committee, which was scrapped at the initiative of former Secretary General Ichiro Ozawa after the party swept to power a year ago.

Considered a prospective leader of the next generation of politicians, Gemba first joined the Cabinet as state minister in charge of public services when the Kan administration was inaugurated.

A native of Fukushima Prefecture, Gemba was elected to the assembly of the northeastern prefecture in 1991. He won his Diet seat in the 1993 House of Representatives election as an independent and subsequently joined the now-defunct New Party Sakigake.
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Publication:Japan Policy & Politics
Geographic Code:9JAPA
Date:Sep 20, 2010
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