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Pattaya Daily News

02 June 2010 :: 10:06:21 am 23396

Japan’s PM Resigns Over Public Popularity; US Base Row

Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama and Secretary General Ichio Ozawa have resigned from their positions at the head of Japan’s government, effective immediately. The premier has taken a slide in voter popularity over the past month with his ruling Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) suspected of having influenced the PM’s decision to step down ahead of next months upper house elections.
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Tokyo, the 2nd of June 2010 [Pattaya Daily News]: Amidst the Premiers resignation, becoming the forth prime minister to leave office in Japan in less than a year, the Yen has now fallen to a two-week low against the dollar, JPY= 91.78 per US dollar from around 91.10. Investors, worried about political instability, are being increasingly speculative about there dealings in Japan weakening the economy and increasing the reliance on the Bank of Japan’s ‘relaxed’ monetary policy.

Hatoyama decided to resign over voter popularity which has been quoted by some at just 17%. Voter suspicions over a funding scandal embroiling Ozawa, seen by many as the real power behind Hatoyama’s administration, were a big factor in the party’s ratings slide. Whilst a popular election promise to move a US airbase from the island of Okinawa in southern Japan has failed to come to fruition with a statement released last week stating that the base would cordially remain on the island.

Japan’s ruling DJP had called for Hatoyama to step aside in order to benefit the entire party at the upcoming upper house elections on July 11th. Tearful and seemingly resenting his party’s decision, Hatoyama told lawmakers that he and Secretary-General Ichiro Ozawa would resign immediately, “in order to revitalise our party. We need to bring back a thoroughly clean Democratic Party. I would like to ask your cooperation.”

Political analysts have now tipped the outspoken Finance Minister Naoto Kan as the frontrunner to replace Hatoyama. A leader is expected to be chosen by Friday. The latest political struggles, including the recent departure of a tiny leftist party from the coalition, has distracted the government in it plans to cut huge public dept, currently 200% of GDP, and engineer growth despite the fast-aging population.

Finance Minister Kan, renowned for his more proactive approach to fiscal discipline, if he takes power he is expected to press the Bank of Japan into doing more to fight deflation and would consider raising the 5% sales tax in the future to fund the bulging social welfare costs.

Whoever takes the DPJ hot-seat will have to contend with the relative inexperience of the party’s leadership with Japan having had a Liberal Democratic Party leader for the last 50 years, prior to a landslide win for the DPJ in last Augusts elections. Some analysts believe that the resignation could help the DPJ ahead of next months elections, however; only people with short memories will forget the outrage and unpopularity that occurred for the LDP when they had two premiers quit after having served less than a year in office.

Reporter : John Weston   Photo : Internet   Category : World News

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