Japan's Finance Minister Yoshihiko Noda has been elected head of the ruling Democratic party and is almost certain to become the country's next prime minister.
Noda was elected head of the Democratic Party of Japan after defeating Trade and Industry Minister Banri Kaieda in a runoff vote.
Parliament is expected to approve him as prime minister in a vote on August 30.
Noda will be Japan's sixth prime minister in five years, succeeding Naoto Kan who resigned last week.
Noda, 54, is known as a fiscal conservative.
He will inhert a host of daunting challenges, from a sluggish economy to the massive reconstruction after the March 11 earthquake, tsunami, and the country's worst nuclear accident.
compiled from agency reports