Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Japan PM to step down in August

Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan

Source: Press TV

Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan is set to step down by the end of August as Japan continues to grapple with its ongoing nuclear crisis following the March earthquake and tsunami.

Kan is expected to resign in late August after securing parliamentary passage of the second extra budget and a bill needed for the government to issue deficit-covering bonds for fiscal 2011, Japan's Kyodo News announced on Tuesday.

The Democratic Party of Japan, which is headed by the premier, and major opposition parties including the Liberal Democratic Party agreed on the resignation date after several weeks of discussions.

In June, Kan survived a no-confidence vote for his mishandling of the post-quake nuclear crisis.

Ahead of the June vote in the parliament, Kan told his Democratic Party of Japan members that he felt responsible for resolving the country's nuclear crisis, adding that he would then leave office to give his place to the younger generation to rebuild the disaster-stricken country.

On March 11, a destructive 9-magnitude earthquake and an ensuing tsunami struck Japan's northern coasts, setting off a nuclear crisis by knocking out power to cooling systems of reactors at the Fukushima plant and causing a radiation leak.

The powerful quake and the massive tsunami that followed killed about 24,000 people and ravaged the Fukushima plant. The crisis has displaced about 80,000 residents from around the plant.

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