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Japan's new leader takes unusual path to power

 Japan's new Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama leaves the prime minister's official residence in Tokyo, Japan, for an installation ceremony of him and his...
 Japan's new Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama speaks during his first press conference at the prime minister's office in Tokyo, Japan, Wednesday, Sept. 1...

Japan Politics

Japan's new Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama leaves the prime minister's official residence in Tokyo, Japan, for an installation ceremony of him and his...

APTOPIX Japan Politics

Japan's new Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama speaks during his first press conference at the prime minister's office in Tokyo, Japan, Wednesday, Sept. 1...

Japan's new Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama has both the pedigree and the experience to lead, but has spent most of his career on the outside.
The 62-year-old president of the Democratic Party of Japan is the grandson of Ichiro Hatoyama, who served as prime minister from 1954 to 1956 and co-founded the long-ruling Liberal Democrats, who Hatoyama ousted from power when he led his own party to victory in parliamentary elections last month.
His father, Iichiro, served as foreign minister and his younger brother Kunio, who is still a Liberal Democrat, has served in several ministerial posts in the previous government.
But Hatoyama, who has served eight terms in parliament, has taken an unusual path to power.
He studied engineering at the prestigious University of Tokyo and earned two masters degrees and a Ph.D. at Stanford University before starting a teaching career. He is only the second Japanese prime minister since World War II to hold a doctorate.
In 1983, he became a private secretary to his father, and was elected to parliament three years later.
Seven years after that, however, he left.
Hatoyama parted from the Liberal Democrats after an internal revolt over corruption scandals among its top leaders and in 1993 joined the opposition to form an eight-party coalition government in which he kept a low profile.
When the coalition collapsed in less than 11 months over policy rifts, Hatoyama co-founded the Democratic Party of Japan with several other ex-LDP barons.
Aloof and professor-like, Hatoyama is not seen as charismatic, and has been nicknamed "the alien" because he can come across as eccentric. But he has a knack for connecting with voters and novice lawmakers, says Kenzo Fujisue, a Democratic lawmaker serving his second term in the upper house.
"He likes to crack jokes, he is fun to be with. But when he makes decisions, he follows logic, not hunches. He is a scientist," Fujisue told The Associated Press, adding that Hatoyama's experience at Stanford would help build good ties with the U.S.
Hatoyama's wife, Miyuki, 66, is certain to become Japan's most colorful first lady.
A former actress in a popular all-female theater group and a strong believer in spiritualism, Miyuki has said she met U.S. actor Tom Cruise in a previous life and that her soul has traveled to Venus on a UFO.
She calls herself a "life composer" and coordinates Hatoyama's suits, shirts and ties.
"I hope the people would be patient with Hatoyama," she said of her husband after he was installed by parliament Wednesday. "After more than 50 years of continuous LDP rule, it will be difficult to make a difference in one or two years."