Naoto Kan (菅直人 Kan Naoto, born 10th October 1946) was the Prime Minister of Japan from June 2010 until August 2011, having previously served as Finance Minister in the government of Yukio Hatoyama. He became prime minister as a result of winning the leadership of the governing Democratic Party of Japan at the same time. He subsequently won re-election as leader in September 2010 with strong backing from ordinary party members, while voting by party members in the National Diet of Japan and local assemblies produced a comfortable margin of victory.
Unlike many of his predecessors, Kan did not come from a political dynasty, nor was he a "hereditary candidate", i.e. the recipient of a parliamentary seat previously held by a relative. His early career was marked by involvement in grassroots movements.
Kan's leadership was at loggerheads with the party faction led by former leader Ichiro Ozawa, and he was ultimately unable to win enough long-term party or public support, especially following the 2011 Tohoku earthquake and tsunami, to continue beyond August of that year. He was succeeded by his Finance Minister, Yoshihiko Noda.
- Japan Times: 'All things have finally come to veteran who waited'. 5th June 2010.