Wed, June 02, 2010
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Japan PM to resign

2010-06-02 07:15:17 GMT2010-06-02 15:15:17 (Beijing Time)  SINA.com

Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama announces plans to resign, after eight months on the job.

After less than a year in the country's top office, a tearful Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama has announced he will resign, along with his ruling party's number two, Ichiro Ozawa.

JAPANESE PRIME MINISTER YUKIO HATOYAMA SAYING:

"I, too, will be resigning from my current position, but so also will Party Secretary-General (Ichiro) Ozawa, who is commonly known to have been in the midst of the debate over political funding laws."

Pressure has been mounting on Hatoyama to stand down to boost his party's chances of winning an election next month, as support for his Cabinet slipped to just 17 percent.

A funding scandal involving Ozawa was seen as one of the main reasons for his party's waning support.

JAPANESE PRIME MINISTER YUKIO HATOYAMA SAYING:

"In order to put the Democratic Party back together, let's make the Democratic party clean once more. I ask you all for your help."

Outspoken Finance Minister Naoto Kan is widely tipped as Hatoyama's likely successor, with a decision expected in days.

Kan has in the past pressed the Bank of Japan to do more to fight deflation, also sounding more willing than Hatoyama to raise a 5 percent sales tax to fund bulging social welfare costs, a move that would be welcomed by investors but likely not by the electorate.

The Democrats swept to power in August last year, ousting the conservative Liberal Democratic Party, which enjoyed more than 50 years of almost non-stop rule.

But doubts over Hatoyama's leadership skills have hurt approval ratings, which fell further after he failed to keep a campaign pledge to move a U.S. airbase off the southern island of Okinawa.

Kirsty Basset, Reuters.

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