A key Japanese adviser on radiation leaks at the country's disabled Fukushima nuclear power facility has quit in protest over the government's handling of the disaster.
The adviser, Toshiso Kosako, a radiation safety expert at the University of Tokyo, said the government-set limits for radiation exposure at schools near the nuclear site are too high. At a tearful news conference late Friday, Kosako said he could "not allow this as a scholar."
Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan appointed Kosako to advise the government after the March 11 earthquake and tsunami. In quitting his position, Kosako criticized the government for what he said is its "impromptu" handling of the crisis and slow pace of bringing the nuclear facility's radiation leaks under control.
A new survey released Saturday by the Kyodo news agency showed that the Japanese public is growing increasingly disenchanted with Kan's leadership in dealing with the recovery effort, with about three-fourths of those polled saying they are dissatisfied. That negative view of Kan was up markedly from a similar survey in late March. Nearly a quarter of those surveyed said he should resign immediately.
Meanwhile, the lower house of the Japanese parliament passed an emergency budget of more than $48 billion as a down payment on the rebuilding effort in the country's northeastern sector devastated by the twin natural disasters. The upper house of parliament is expected to approve the spending plan on Monday.
The emergency budget is likely to be followed by other spending packages to cover the overall reconstruction. The region's damage has been estimated at more than $300 billion.
Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.