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New DP leader Renho enjoys high name recognition with history as TV anchor

Renho celebrates after being elected new leader of the oppostition Democratic Party, at a hotel in Tokyo's Minato Ward on Sept. 15, 2016. (Mainichi)

Newly elected Democratic Party (DP) leader Renho has enjoyed high name recognition as she served as anchorwoman of a television news program before making her political debut.

Renho played a key role in efforts to identify wasteful government projects in the previous administration led by the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ), the DP's predecessor. When deliberating the pros and cons of the allocation of funds for the development of the supercomputer K, Renho asked, "Is there any reason why Japan needs to be No. 1? Is No. 2 unacceptable?" Her questions drew significant attention from the public.

Renho attaches particular importance to administrative reform, having served as state minister in charge of administrative reform and as an adviser to the prime minister under the DPJ-led government. She stays in her room at the Diet Members' Office Building on weekends and reads documents on the state budget in preparation for Diet deliberations.

Renho aspires to be Japan's first female prime minister, saying she aims "to break through the glass ceiling." While she often sends impressive messages to the public, her candid remarks sometimes create a stir, such as when she described her predecessor Katsuya Okada as a "good-for-nothing" man.

Renho is known as a thrifty politician. She loves red wine but orders the cheapest brand at dinner meetings. Her hobby is running. She is married to freelance journalist Nobuyuki Murata, and the couple have a twin son and daughter, aged 19.

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