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

French Refugee Drama Wins Cannes Top Prize

Dheepan is about a group of Sri Lankan refugees who pretend to be a family in order to flee their war-torn country for a housing project in France More

Photogallery Crisis in Macedonia Requires Meaningful and Swift Measures

The international community has called on Macedonian leadership to take concrete measures in support of democracy in order to exit the crisis More

Activists: IS Executes 217 Civilians, Soldiers Near Palmyra

British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights on Sunday said the victims include nurses, women, children and Syrian government fighters 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.
Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthroughi
X
May 22, 2015 10:23 AM
Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthrough

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Europe Follows US Lead in Tackling ‘Conflict Minerals’

Metals mined from conflict zones in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo are often sold by warlords to buy weapons. This week European lawmakers voted to force manufacturers to prove that their supply chains are not inadvertently fueling conflicts and human rights abuses. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Class Tackles Questions of Race, Discrimination

Unrest in some U.S. cities is more than just a trending news item at Ladue Middle School in St. Louis, Missouri. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, it’s a focus of a multicultural studies class engaging students in wide-ranging discussions about racial tensions and police aggression.
Video

Video Mind-Controlled Prosthetics Are Getting Closer

Scientists and engineers are making substantial advances towards the ultimate goal in prosthetics – creation of limbs that can be controlled by the wearer’s mind. Thanks to sophisticated sensors capable of picking up the brain’s signals, an amputee in Iceland is literally bringing us one step closer to that goal. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Foreign Troops Depart

As international troops prepare to leave Afghanistan, and many foreign aid groups follow, Afghans are grappling with how the exodus will affect the country's fragile economy. Ayesha Tanzeem reports from the Afghan capital, Kabul.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.

VOA Blogs