News / Asia

Japanese Prime Minister Resigns

Japan's Prime Minister Naoto Kan attends a general meeting of his ruling Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) lawmakers at the parliament building in Tokyo, August 26, 2011
Japan's Prime Minister Naoto Kan attends a general meeting of his ruling Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) lawmakers at the parliament building in Tokyo, August 26, 2011

Japan will soon see its seventh prime minister in a span of five years. In a widely anticipated move, Prime Minister Naoto Kan has announced he will be resigning as soon as his party selects a new leader on Monday.

Japan faces serious social and economic challenges as it recovers from this year’s unprecedented natural and nuclear disasters.

The unpopular Japanese prime minister has bowed to the inevitable.

Kan on Friday made good on his promise to resign after less than 15 months in power.  He announced his exit expressing hope his successor will be able to stay in officer longer than he could.

In remarks at the start of a news conference broadcast live, Kan told the nation  that he believes during his one year and three months in office his Cabinet made progress on tax reform, other social policies and helped Japan revive from the devastating March 11 natural disaster and subsequent nuclear accident.

Kan faced rising criticism following the March 11 disaster because of his government’s perceived insufficient response to it.

The magnitude 9.0 earthquake triggered a historic tsunami. The natural disaster left 20,000 dead or missing. It also was the catalyst for the meltdown of reactors at the Fukushima nuclear power plant.

The tragedies put Japanese politics on hold and postponed a resignation seen as inevitable even prior to March 11.

Kan, in what is likely his final news conference as prime minister, acknowledged what he called his inabilities to sufficiently respond in the wake of the reactor meltdowns.

Kan created further debate about his leadership by pushing, as a weakened head of government, a plan to phase out nuclear power in wake of the Fukushima radiation leaks.

Japan has few natural resources and relies on imports of fossil fuels and nuclear plants to power the world’s third largest economy.

Kan was nearly forced out of office in June but survived a parliamentary no confidence motion supported by many in his own party.

As part of a deal to stave off his immediate removal from office, Kan agreed to resign later. But critics accused him of stubbornly clinging to power, as he insisted first that several pieces of legislation be approved before his departure.

The final two pieces of legislation - bills dealing with issuance of bonds and renewable energy - were approved Friday. That removed the last barriers Kan had put in place blocking his immediate resignation.

He quickly then arranged to appear before his fellow Democratic Party of Japan lawmakers to announce he was stepping down as their leader.

The DPJ is to choose his successor Monday with voting limited to its nearly 400 lawmakers. The following day the Parliament will select a prime minister with the Democrats’ candidate ensured victory because of their control of the Lower House.

The brief internal party campaign among those jockeying to succeed Kan begins Saturday. At least four lawmakers will be contesting the post, including former Foreign Minister Seiji Maehara - considered the public favorite - and the current Finance Minister, Yoshihiko Noda. A key party powerbroker, however, is reported to be backing Trade Minister Banri Kaieda.

The party, which was formed in 1998 and took power less than two years ago, faces internal turmoil and the next leader may experience only a short tenure.

Many analysts predict a national election will be called next year and could allow the opposition conservatives, the Liberal Democratic Party, to return to power. The LDP has governed Japan for most of the post-World War II era.

You May Like

Video Migrants Caught in No-Man's Land In French Port

The deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean this week has only recast the spotlight on the perils of reaching 'Fortress Europe' More

Video Westgate Mall Attack Survivors Confront Painful Memories

On anniversary of terror attack, survivors discuss how they have coped with trauma they experienced that day More

New Hints That Dark Matter Exists

New evidence from International Space Station hints at existence of dark matter and dark energy More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Migrants Caught in No-Man's Land Called Calaisi
X
Lisa Bryant
September 19, 2014 5:04 PM
The deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean this week has only recast the spotlight on the perils of reaching Europe. And for those forunate enough to reach a place like Calais, France, only find that their problems aren't over. Lisa Bryant has the story.
Video

Video Migrants Caught in No-Man's Land Called Calais

The deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean this week has only recast the spotlight on the perils of reaching Europe. And for those forunate enough to reach a place like Calais, France, only find that their problems aren't over. Lisa Bryant has the story.
Video

Video Westgate Siege Anniversary Brings Back Painful Memories

One year after it happened, the survivors of the terror attack on Nairobi's Westgate Shopping Mall still cannot shake the images of that tragic incident. For VOA, Mohammed Yusuf tells the story of victims still waiting for the answer to the question 'how could this happen?'
Video

Video Militant Assault in Syria Displaces Thousands of Kurds

A major assault by Islamic State militants on Kurds in Syria has sent a wave of new refugees to the Turkish border, where they were stopped by Turkish border security. Turkey is already hosting about 700,000 Syrian refugees who fled the civil war between the government and the opposition. But the government in Ankara has a history of strained relations with Turkey's Kurdish minority. Zlatica Hoke reports Turkey is asking for international help.
Video

Video CERN Accelerator Back in Business

The long upgrade of the Large Hadron Collider is over. The scientific instrument responsible for the discovery of the Higgs boson -- the so-called "God particle" -- is being brought up to speed in time for this month's 60th anniversary of the European Organization for Nuclear Research, known by its French acronym CERN. Physicists hope the accelerator will help them uncover more secrets about the origins of the universe. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

The International Whaling Commission, meeting in Slovenia, has voted to uphold a court ruling banning Japan from hunting whales in the Antarctic Ocean. Conservationists hailed the ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Russian Economy Reeling After New Western Sanctions

A new wave of Western sanctions is hitting Russia’s economy hard. State-owned energy firms continue to bleed profits and Russia’s national currency plunged to a new low this week after the U.S. and the European Union announced new sanctions to punish Russia's aggressive stance in eastern Ukraine. But as Mil Arcega reports, the sanctions could also prove costly for European and American companies.
Video

Video Belgian Researchers Discover Way to Block Cancer Metastasis

Cancer remains one of the deadliest diseases, despite many new methods to combat it. Modern medicine has treatments to prevent the growth of primary tumor cells. But most cancer deaths are caused by metastasis, the stage when primary tumor cells change and move to other parts of the body. A team of Belgian scientists says it has found a way to prevent that process. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Mogadishu's Flood of Foreign Workers Leaves Somalis Out of Work

Unemployment and conflict has forced many young Somalians out of the country in search of a better life. But a newfound stability in the once-lawless nation has created hope — and jobs — which, some say, are too often being filled by foreigners. Abdulaziz Billow reports from Mogadishu.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.
Video

Video NASA Picks Boeing, SpaceX to Carry Astronauts Into Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, has chosen Boeing and SpaceX companies to build the next generation of spacecraft that will carry U.S. astronauts to the International Space Station by the year 2017. The deal with private industry enables NASA to end its dependence on Russia to send space crews into low Earth orbit and back. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Future of Ukrainian Former President's Estate Uncertain

More than six months after Ukraine's former President Viktor Yanukovych fled revolution to Russia, authorities have yet to gain control of his palatial estate. Protesters occupy the grounds and opened it to tourists but they are also refusing to turn it over to the state. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Mezhigirya, just north of Kyiv.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid