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Hatoyama elected as Japan's prime minister

  • Story Highlights
  • Lower house elects Yukio Hatoyama as Japan's new prime minister
  • Liberal Democratic Party Prime Minister Taro Aso resigns
  • Last month, Japanese voters swept Aso's party from power
  • Country suffering from after-effects of worst recession since World War II
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(CNN) -- Japan's parliament elected Yukio Hatoyama as the country's new prime minister on Wednesday in an historic shift of power.

Taro Aso's Liberal Democratic Party had governed Japan for nearly 50 years.

Yukio Hatoyama's Party of Japan won a landslide election last month.

The vote by the lower house of the parliament was virtually assured.

Hatoyama's Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) won a landslide election last month, and controls 308 of the lower chamber's 480 seats.

Earlier, defeated prime minister Taro Aso and his cabinet resigned.

Aso's Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) had governed the country for nearly half a century.

Handed a sweeping mandate for change, Hatoyama begins the formidable task of delivering on a laundry list of promises intended to lift the country after its worst recession since World War II. Video Watch more about the political upheaval »

Voters -- skeptical, pessimistic and impatient -- are unlikely to give the party, which has never held office, much time to make good.

Japan is witnessing historic highs in unemployment and experiencing ramifications like homelessness for the first time.

Hatoyama touted a Barack Obama-style message of change. He pledged to raise the minimum wage and discourage hiring through agencies or on temporary contracts.

Hatoyama's party has adopted a salvation plan based on "trickle up economics." It wants to put money in the hands of families, in hopes that they will spend it in Japan and stimulate the world's second-largest economy.

Though Japan officially rebounded from its recession in mid-August, Japanese households have yet to feel secure about a lasting economic recovery. In its election manifesto, the DPJ said it will pay about $3,000 per child to each family every year -- to encourage women to have babies and reverse the country's rapidly aging and shrinking population. It will also pay about $1,000 a month to each unemployed Japanese as he looks for a job. Video Watch report on why voters are looking for change »

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But the question is, where will the money come from? Japan's budget deficit is enormous. Its national debt is almost two times its gross domestic product.

The DPJ says the money is there, tied up in the corruption and bureaucracy of decades-long LDP rule.

All About JapanTaro AsoYukio Hatoyama

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