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Hata named as Japan PM

TOKYO - Tsutomu Hata was formally chosen to be the next prime minister of Japan by the ruling seven- party coaliton yesterday, writes Terry McCarthy. Mr Hata, 58, who is currently Foreign Minister, is due to be voted into office by the Japanese Diet (parliament) on Monday.

He will succeed Morihiro Hosokawa, who resigned two weeks ago over a financial scandal. It had looked as if the coalition would collapse before a compromise was reached, though commentators predict disagreements may continue.