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Prime Minister Kan Resigns

Prime Minister Kan Resigns

(REUTERS photo)

Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan stepped down today under pressure from the opposition Liberal Democratic Party, factions within his own Democratic Party of Japan, and low approval ratings.

In announcing his resignation in a televised speech, Kan said: “Under the severe circumstances, I feel I’ve done everything that I had to do. Now I would like to see you choose someone respectable as a new prime minister.”

Kan’s administration has been criticized for what was seen as a slow response helping victims of the March 11 quake and tsunami, which claimed 20,000 lives, and for underplaying the severity of the situation at the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant during the early days of the crisis. Kan’s approval rating dipped to a dismal 20 percent.

Kan survived a no-confidence vote in June, but agreed to step down in August under the condition that three key bills were passed–a second budget, a budget financing bill and legislation promoting the use of renewable energy.

In the lame-duck session following his announcement to step down in June, Kan has been an outspoken critic of nuclear power, referring to Japan’s nuclear industry and the politicians who are in the industry’s pockets as a “nuclear village.” Even though this tapped into popular sentiment, it did little to boost Kan’s support base.

The Diet is expected to select a new prime minister early next week–the sixth in five years.



Dustin Dye

Dustin Dye is the author of the YAKUZA DYNASTY series, available through the Amazon Kindle.

He lived in Okayama, Japan, where he taught English at a junior high school through the Japan Exchange and Teaching Program for three years. He is a graduate from the University of Kansas, where he received a bachelor's degree in anthropology.

His interest in Japan began in elementary school after seeing Godzilla fight Ghidorah, the three-headed monster. But it wasn't until he discovered Akira Kurosawa's films through their spaghetti Western remakes that he truly became fascinated in the people and culture of Japan.

He lives in Kansas with his wife, daughter and guinea pig.

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E-mail him: [email protected]