Japanese PM Yukio Hatoyama resigns amid Okinawa row


Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama has announced his resignation after just eight months in office.

He was forced out after breaking an election pledge to move an unpopular US military base away from the southern island of Okinawa.

The move comes as his Democratic Party of Japan (DJP) struggles to revive its chances in an election due in July.

The centre-left DPJ’s election landslide last year ended half a century of conservative rule in Japan.

But wrangling over the base distracted attention from their broader aims – pursuing a more equal alliance with the US, a bigger welfare state, and to seize control of policy-making from the bureaucracy, says the BBC’s Roland Buerk in Tokyo.

Mr Hatoyama, 63, was Japan’s fourth prime minister in four years.

Broken promise

Until Tuesday night, Mr Hatoyama had insisted he would stay on while intermittently holding talks with key members of his Democratic Party of Japan.

But he announced his resignation at a special meeting of DJP lawmakers on Wednesday.

He said he had asked Ichiro Ozawa, the party’s secretary general – known as the “Shadow Shogun” for his power behind the scenes – to go too.

Mr Hatoyama had been under pressure to quit since last week when it was confirmed that an unpopular US base would be staying on Okinawa.

For months he had searched fruitlessly for an alternative location to fulfil a pledge to move it off the island or even out of Japan altogether, our correspondent says.

When he failed his governing coalition split.

Members of his party had feared with him at the top they would be trounced in mid-term elections to the upper house of parliament expected next month, our correspondent says.

The DPJ’s next leader will have to take the party into mid-term elections to the upper house of parliament expected next month.

Possible successors include Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Naoto Kan, with Foreign Minister Katsuya Okada and Transport Minister Seiji Maehara also seen as possible contenders.

Posted via web from Street_Visuals

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