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Japanese PM Signals August Resignation as Likely Successor Emerges

Japanese Finance Minister Yoshihiko Noda (L) talks with Prime Minister Naoto Kan before a regular session at the lower house of parliament in Tokyo, June 9, 2011

Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan is signaling that he wants to keep his job at least through August.

Kan survived a no-confidence motion last week only after promising to step down in the near future, and pressure has been mounting for him to resign this month.

But the prime minister told a parliamentary committee Thursday that he wants to stay in office to oversee the stabilization of the Fukushima nuclear plant and the removal of rubble from areas worst hit by the March 11 earthquake. The rubble clearance is expected to be completed in August.

Senior officials in Kan's Democratic Party of Japan, meanwhile, appear to be favoring Finance Minister Yoshihiko Noda as their candidate to replace Kan.

There has been increasing talk in the party of forming a grand coalition with the opposition Liberal Democratic Party to oversee the massive job of rebuilding after the earthquake and tsunami.

The LDP, which holds a majority in the upper house, is threatening to block vital legislation to finance the reconstruction until Kan resigns.