Japan Ruling Party Could Elect New Leader in Late August

Posted August 9th, 2011 at 10:25 pm (UTC-5)
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Japanese news media say the country's Prime Minister Naoto Kan is likely to resign by the end of this month.

Reports say the ruling Democratic Party is aiming to hold a leadership election around August 28. Likely candidates to replace Mr. Kan include Finance Minister Yoshihiko Noda, former land minister Sumio Mabuchi and former environmental minister Sakihito Ozawa.

Mr. Kan took office in June 2010 as Japan's fifth prime minister in as many years. He has been criticized for his handling of the huge nuclear crisis after an earthquake and tsunami crippled the Fukushima plant in March.

The embattled prime minister has set several conditions for his resignation. Those include enactment of an extra budget to help fund recovery from the twin disaster and parliamentary passage of the bill enabling the government to issue bonds that would cover an anticipated budget deficit.

Japanese media reports say both conditions seem likely to be met by the end of the month.

Mr. Kan also wants parliament to pass a law promoting renewable sources of energy before quitting.