Noda Gain: Japan Gets 6th Leader in 5 Years Former finance minister picked for country's top job By Rob Quinn, Newser Staff Posted Aug 30, 2011 4:54 AM CDT 0 comments Comments Yoshihiko Noda, Japan's new prime minister, speaks during a press conference yesterday. (AP Photo/Hiro Komae) (Newser) – Yoshihiko Noda is Japan's new prime minister and he has some tough challenges ahead of him, not least of which is unifying his own bickering party. Noda, formerly the country's finance minister, was elected as leader today by the country's parliament, winning majorities both in the lower house, controlled by his Democratic Party of Japan, and in the opposition-held upper house, AP reports. Noda's predecessor, Naoto Kan, stepped down after 15 months following widespread criticism of his handling of the aftermath of the tsunami earlier this year. Noda is a "moderate voice" in the ruling party, an analyst at Council for Foreign Relations says. "He has a steady temperament and a reputation for fairness in a party where loyalties have been severely tested of late." Noda is the country's sixth prime minister in 5 years, and ratings agency Moody's cited the instability at the top as one reason why it downgraded Japan's rating earlier this month.