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article imageJapan Foreign Minister quits, Prime Minister still won't resign

By Andrew Moran     Mar 8, 2011 in Politics
Tokyo - The Japanese media labelled the Foreign Minister’s resignation as the government being “on the edge of a cliff.” Opposition members and the general public are now calling for Prime Minister Naoto Kan to step down. Will Kan end the stalemate?
In June, Japan’s ruling Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) appointed Finance Minister Naoto Kan to be the Prime Minister, which followed Yukio Hatoyama resignation. Kan stepped into the position with a lot of pressures, including a $1 trillion budget, one of the largest debts in the world and a populace upset over the Okinawa United States Air Force Base.
On Sunday, Japanese Foreign Minister Seiji Maehara announced that he was stepping down from his position, according to the Wall Street Journal. The resignation came as the people and the opposition called for his firing after it was learned that Maehara illegally accepted a donation from a South Korean supporter.
Maehara made the announcement during a press conference following a private meeting at the Prime Minister’s residence, notes Agence-France Presse. The Foreign Minister rejected Kan’s request to stay on. It was speculated within the DPJ that Maehara would succeed Kan.
The Prime Minister is now being called upon to either quit with his entire cabinet or dissolve the House of Representatives. But during a parliamentary session, according to Reuters, Kan made his intentions clear:
Japan faces a severe debt crisis that is worth twice the amount of their $5 trillion GDP.
Japan faces a severe debt crisis that is worth twice the amount of their $5 trillion GDP.
Bank of Japan
“Carrying out the administration's duty for the four-year term and then letting the people decide at the ballot box is best for the people themselves,” said Kan. “I intend to firmly fulfill my duty until that time comes.”
Main opposition Liberal Democratic Party finance chief Jiro Kawasaki and Your Party leader Yoshimi Watanabe are calling for Kan’s resignation and are also demanding an election for the lower house, reports Xinhua.
“The Kan Cabinet has lost the people's confidence. Now his only options are whether to resign en masse or to dissolve the House of Representatives,” said Natsuo Yamaguchi, New Komeito Party leader.
It isn’t just the opposition either that are dissatisfied with the ruling party. According to BBC News, more than half of Japan’s voters want the Prime Minister to submit quit.
More about Naoto kan, Japan, Prime minister, Seiji Maehara, Resignation
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