The Yomiuri Shimbun
INTERNAL AFFAIRS AND COMMUNICATIONS MINISTER, STATE MINISTER FOR OKINAWA AND NORTHERN TERRITORIES AFFAIRS
Kawabata, a former member of the now-defunct Democratic Socialist Party, entered politics after working as a technical engineer at Toray Industries, Inc. and an executive member of a labor union.
Having served as party secretary general and Diet affairs chief, he is considered adept in dealing with Diet affairs.
As education minister under a previous DPJ administration, he skillfully handled education policies, despite this not being his specialty. The free high school education program, one of the DPJ's pledges in the 2009 House of Representatives election, was put into force through his efforts.
However, some lawmakers describe him as a consensus-oriented politician who lacks individuality and the strength to impose his will on others.
(DPJ, group of former DSP members)
Hiraoka is the second consecutive justice minister to come from the intraparty group led by former Prime Minister Naoto Kan, following his predecessor, Satsuki Eda.
He has served in such posts as counselor of the Cabinet Legislation Bureau and section chief of the former National Tax Administration Agency, now the National Tax Agency.
A lawyer, Hiraoka is considered an expert on legal and fiscal affairs.
An enthusiastic supporter of the current Constitution, Hiraoka is a representative of Liberal no Kai (association of liberal lawmakers), a group of junior and mid-ranking DPJ members.
However, some people regard him as "stubborn and inflexible."
(DPJ, Kan group)
Gemba served concurrently as state minister for national policy and chairman of the DPJ's Policy Research Committee in the Kan administration, and made strenuous efforts in negotiations with the Liberal Democratic Party and New Komeito in reviewing his party's key policy goals.
However, he sometimes has been seen as vacillating between different opinions when faced with opposition from other party members, putting his decisiveness in question.
He attended the Matsushita Institute of Government and Management, and is the son-in-law of former Fukushima Gov. Eisaku Sato.
Some lawmakers have begun gathering around Gemba, who is regarded as a next-generation leader in the party. This move may lead to the formation of a new group.
A close ally of former DPJ Secretary General Katsuya Okada, Azumi supported him as chairman of the party's Diet Affairs Committee during the Kan administration.
Azumi's high-handed attitude toward bureaucrats is often described as arrogant. But many people were moved at a meeting of DPJ lawmakers immediately after the Great East Japan Earthquake when Azumi wept as he called for action to help victims in disaster-stricken areas.
A former NHK reporter, Azumi is known to be highly assertive. However, some express concern about his talkative nature, saying that he tends to blow his own horn.
EDUCATION, CULTURE, SPORTS, SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY MINISTER
Nakagawa was formerly a member of the Mie Prefectural Assembly and worked for the Japan Foundation. He has gained the deep trust of former party Secretary General Katsuya Okada, who also was elected from a constituency in Mie Prefecture.
Having served as chairman of the DPJ's Foreign Relations and Security Research Committee, Nakagawa is known for his expertise in diplomatic affairs.
Nakagawa also has a deep knowledge of many other policy issues. He was in charge of education policies as a senior vice minister of the education ministry.
He is considered extremely trustworthy, though some other politicians wish he was more ambitious.
HEALTH, LABOR AND WELFARE MINISTER
Komiyama is one of the DPJ members who called for the creation of the child-rearing allowance system, a key pledge in the party's manifesto for the 2009 House of Representatives election.
A former commentator at NHK, Komiyama has made it her life's work to promote women's rights and assistance for child rearing.
A close aide to DPJ Policy Research Committee Chairman Seiji Maehara, Komiyama openly urged then party President Ichiro Ozawa to resign in 2009 over Ozawa's involvement in a politics-and-money scandal.
Komiyama has a good reputation for her clear-cut statements, but this has earned her enemies in the past.
(DPJ, Maehara group)
AGRICULTURE, FORESTRY AND FISHERIES MINISTER
Elected to the House of Representatives 11 times, Kano has had a long political career. He held a number of cabinet posts as a member of the Liberal Democratic Party, and was once seen as a promising candidate for prime minister. However, he bolted the LDP when the political world underwent a realignment and he suffered a number of hardships.
Last year, he was appointed agriculture, forestry and fisheries minister, the first cabinet post he has held in 18 years. He displayed his political skills in agricultural reforms and has been rewarded by being reappointed to the post. The stability he seemed to offer prompted other party members to field him as a candidate in the latest DPJ presidential election.
He is nicknamed "tinplate underwear," a reference to his discreet statements and behavior from which "nothing leaks."
(DPJ, Kano group)
ECONOMY, TRADE AND INDUSTRY MINISTER
Hachiro was born into a farming family in Hokkaido, worked in an agricultural co-operative and then entered the world of politics as a member of the now-defunct Japan Socialist Party.
Though he claims to be an expert in agricultural policy, Hachiro's skills in economy and energy policies are uncertain.
When the DPJ was an opposition party, he served in such key party posts as chairman of the Diet Affairs Committee and chairman of the election campaign committee, and his skill in coordinating opinions was praised.
In September last year, he again became chairman of the Diet Affairs Committee, but resigned about four months later after failing to achieve anything worthwhile.
(DPJ, group of former JSP members)
LAND, INFRASTRUCTURE, TRANSPORT AND TOURISM MINISTER
At 73, Maeda is the oldest Cabinet member. He has experienced many setbacks in his political career, losing three consecutive elections for the House of Representatives, the House of Councillors and the governorship of Nara Prefecture.
Agreeing with the political reforms proposed by former Prime Minister Tsutomu Hata, Maeda left the Liberal Democratic Party in 1993.
In the DPJ's recent presidential election, Maeda supported Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Minister Michihiko Kano. Although he is a member of the Hata group, he also attends meetings of Kano's group.
Maeda used to be a bureaucrat at the former Construction Ministry. He will be tested as to whether he can exert his leadership without depending on his former colleagues.
(DPJ, upper house, Hata group)
ENVIRONMENT MINISTER, STATE MINISTER FOR NUCLEAR CRISIS
Hosono was appointed in June under the Kan administration as state minister in charge of handling the ongoing crisis at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant. He has played a major role in addressing the crisis in cooperation with plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Co. since its outbreak.
Hosono has frequently visited Fukushima Prefecture to coordinate efforts to deal with the nuclear crisis and earned a reputation within the government as a man of action.
Hosono entered the world of national politics when he was 28, after serving as a researcher at a research organization.
Although he is said to be highly competent in his utilization of bureaucrats, some have found Hosono to be indecisive when his positions come under criticism.
(DPJ, Maehara group)
As head of the DPJ's policy board in the House of Councillors, Ichikawa has played a role in having the opinions of upper house members reflected in DPJ policies.
He became an expert on agricultural policy when he was a bureaucrat in the Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Ministry.
Though he has expressed interest in diplomatic and defense issues, some lawmakers said his experience comes only as a senior member of relevant committees.
He fought many times with former Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori of the Liberal Democratic Party in the House of Representatives' Ishikawa Constituency No. 2, before switching parties and winning an upper house seat.
(DPJ, upper house, Ozawa group)
CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY
Fujimura was inspired to become a politician during his university days, as a result of volunteering to raise scholarship funds for children who had lost their parents in traffic accidents.
He has served as a senior vice minister for the Foreign Ministry and the Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry, but his speciality is education policy.
When he was in the opposition camp, Fujimura was involved in managing Diet affairs and gained a reputation for adept behind-the-scenes maneuvering.
Fujimura is considered to be Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda's right-hand man.
He is calm and subdued, but many people have called for him to be more vocal.
(DPJ, Noda group)
NATIONAL PUBLIC SAFETY COMMISSION CHAIRMAN, STATE MINISTER FOR CONSUMER AFFAIRS AND ABDUCTION ISSUE
Yamaoka became chairman of the Diet Affairs Committee immediately after the 2007 House of Councillors election, and his confrontational attitude toward the ruling Liberal Democratic Party at Diet sessions contributed greatly to the advent of DPJ-led government.
He proudly calls himself a strategist, but some have said he has a tendency to get caught in his own strategies. In 2008, when the DPJ was in the opposition bloc, Yamaoka was suspected of being involved in a pyramid scheme and the LDP set up a team to investigate his alleged involvement.
His third son, Tatsumaru, is a member of the House of Representatives, and his wife's father is renowned novelist Sohachi Yamaoka.
(DPJ, Ozawa group)
STATE MINISTER FOR POSTAL REFORM AND FINANCIAL SERVICES
Jimi has a doctorate in medicine and has taught at Harvard University as a lecturer.
Although he is not a specialist in financial administration, Jimi was reappointed to the post as the sole representative of the DPJ's coalition partner, People's New Party. He played the same role under the Kan administration.
Jimi has been tasked by PNP leader Shizuka Kamei to push postal reform-related bills through the Diet.
As deliberations on the bills are stalled in the House of Representatives, Jimi faces a tough challenge.
(PNP, upper house)
STATE MINISTER FOR NATIONAL POLICY, ECONOMIC AND FISCAL POLICY, AND TAX REFORM
Furukawa is a former Finance Ministry bureaucrat known for his administrative abilities. Since he is an expert on the taxation system and fiscal policy, former Prime Minister Naoto Kan and former Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshito Sengoku gave him key posts.
Though he is an able policymaker, he has been criticized for lacking communication skills and his inability to work effectively with the Diet as deputy chief cabinet secretary in the Kan administration.
He is also said to micromanage and be more bureaucratic than bureaucrats.
(DPJ, Maehara group)
STATE MINISTER FOR GOVERNMENT REVITALIZATION AND CIVIL SERVICE REFORM
Renho has been reappointed as state minister for government revitalization two months after leaving the post. She is expected to be tested over her handling of the once highly heralded screenings of government projects and budgets. As the government failed to achieve much in previous screenings, public interest in them has waned.
Renho, who first became famous as a TV personality, outperforms other lawmakers with her arguments and questions in the Diet.
In the wake of the March 11 disaster, Renho led a national power conservation campaign and played a major role in publicizing government measures on many other occasions. While some people enjoy her flashy performance, it leaves other people cold.
(DPJ, upper house, Noda group)
STATE MINISTER FOR DISASTER RECONSTRUCTION AND DISASTER MANAGEMENT
Hirano retained his post as disaster recovery minister. He was appointed to the post in July under the Kan Cabinet when he succeeded Ryu Matsumoto, who stepped down following a spate of gaffes.
In playing a key role in working out basic recovery and reconstruction policies, Hirano has been credited with regaining the trust of disaster victims.
Formerly a bureaucrat of the Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Ministry, he has built a reputation for competence in performing administrative tasks.
As Hirano is a midranking legislator among DPJ members, however, some lawmakers have pointed out he still falls short in reconciling conflicting opinions.
(DPJ, upper house)
DEPUTY CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY
FOR PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS
Saito, 66, previously served as acting chairman of the Diet Affairs Committee.
He graduated from Kanagawa University and was elected to a proportional representation seat in the House of Representatives from the Minami Kanto bloc.
(DPJ, Kan group)
Nagahama, 52, was senior vice health, labor and welfare minister and the DPJ's Finance Committee chairman.
A House of Representatives member from Chiba Constituency No. 1, he graduated from Waseda University.
(DPJ, upper house, Noda group)
FOR ADMINISTRATIVE AFFAIRS
Taketoshi, 61, was administrative vice minister of the Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism Ministry and chief of the ministry's City and Regional Development Bureau.
He graduated from the University of Tokyo and joined the then Construction Ministry in 1972.
(Sep. 4, 2011)