In an interview with The Washington Post Noda said he loved watching movies and is a fan of Meryl Streep, who recently won an Academy Award for her portrayal of the former British prime minister Margaret Thatcher in The Iron Lady. The movie follows Thatcher's life and career as she pushed through a series of economic and administrative reforms despite opposition from her countrymen. Noda also said one of his favorite movies is the 1939 film Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, which tells the story of a U.S. senator who single-handedly fights against political corruption.
Noda was born in Funabashi, Chiba on 20 May 1957, the son of a paratrooper in the Japan Self-Defense Forces. Unlike many prominent Japanese politicians, Noda has no family connections to Nagatachō. His parents were too poor to pay for a wedding reception.
Noda graduated from Chiba Prefectural Funabashi Senior High School in 1975. He graduated from Waseda University with the B.A. degree in Political Science in 1980 and was later accepted into the prestigious Matsushita Institute. This institution was founded by Kōnosuke Matsushita (the founder of Panasonic) to groom Future civic Leaders of Japan. While attending the Matsushita Institute, Noda read household gas meters as a part-time job in his native Chiba Prefecture, partially in order to get to know his Future constituents better in preparation for a run for office. He was first elected to the assembly of Chiba Prefecture in 1987 at the age of 29.
Noda has been married to his wife Hitomi since 1992 and has two sons. He has a black belt in judo. His favorite food and drink are ramen and sake. He wrote a book entitled Enemy of the DPJ: Government Change Has a Good Cause.
In 1993, he was elected to the Diet for first time representing Chiba's Lower House District #4 as a member of the now-defunct Japan New Party. He later joined the DPJ and served as its Diet affairs chief as well as head of the party's public relations office.
Noda received praise for passing the consumption tax hike despite intense opposition, but was also criticized for bringing the DPJ closer in substance to its rival LDP, rather than keeping the campaign promises by which it defeated the LDP in 2009. One commentator called him "the best prime minister the LDP never had."
After becoming Prime Minister, one of Noda's most important initiatives was pursuing the entry of Japan into the negotiations for the Trans-Pacific Strategic Economic Partnership, which he announced on 11 November 2011. This proved controversial and was widely discussed in Japanese society.
On 14 November 2012, Noda stated that the diet would be dissolved on 16 November 2012, and the election would be held on 16 December 2012. Given the DPJ's poor figures in the polls, many members of the DPJ were opposed to this, including General Secretary Azuma Koshiishi, and there was talk among some DPJ members of trying to oust Noda before the next election.
Noda is a fan of professional wrestling and has stated that Kenta Kobashi is his favorite Wrestler. On 11 May 2013, Noda attended Kobashi's retirement event, Final Burning in Budokan, in Tokyo's Nippon Budokan.
On 24 August, Noda went on live television and vowed to appeal to the international community to support Japan’s claims to sovereignty over islands at the center of separate disputes with South Korea and China. On 11 September, the Japanese government nationalized its control over Minami-kojima, Kita-kojima, and Uotsuri islands by purchasing them from the Kurihara family for ¥2.05 billion. China's Foreign Ministry objected saying Beijing would not "sit back and watch its territorial sovereignty violated."