Japan’s ruling party has elected Finance Minister Yoshihiko Noda as its new chief, meaning he will almost certainly become the next Prime Minister and inherit the challenge of rebuilding from the country’s disasters.

Mr. Noda, 54, is known as a fiscal conservative. He defeated Trade Minister Banri Kaieda on Monday in a run-off election 215-177 after none of the five candidates won a majority in the first round.

Mr. Noda will inherit a host of daunting challenges, from a sluggish economy to the massive reconstruction after March’s tsunami and nuclear crisis.

He will go on to become Prime Minister because the ruling Democrats control the more powerful lower house of Parliament.

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