Pressure mounts for Japanese PM to step down as senior DPJ talks continue

20:38, June 01, 2010      

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Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama arrives at the parliament for a meeting with his ruling Democratic Party Secretary-General Ichiro Ozawa in Tokyo June 1, 2010. (Xinhua/Reuters Photo)

The future of Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama remains uncertain following Tuesday's meeting among senior Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) officials that is likely to continue Wednesday, as pressure mounts from within the DPJ for the prime minister to step down.

Hatoyama, DPJ Secretary General Ichiro Ozawa and DPJ upper house caucus leader Azuma Koshiishi met Tuesday to reportedly discuss how the party would operate without one of its coalition parties who quit the ruling coalition bloc Sunday, ahead of key upper house elections expected to be held on July 11.

Following the meeting, the DPJ's top spokesman remained abstruse as to what exactly was discussed and the fate of the embattled prime minister, simply telling reporters that the three men "will continue exchanging opinions".

Despite Hatoyama's support rate plunging below 20 percent and him being blamed for dividing the ruling coalition following his mishandling of a plan to relocate a U.S. military facility in Okinawa, causing the Social Democratic Party to bolt from the coalition and reposition themselves to oppose the DPJ in the forthcoming election, Hatoyama said earlier Tuesday he has no plans to step down.

"What matters are people's livelihoods. This new administration was launched to substantially change policies, and I want to continue acting in a way that fits this new administration," Hatoyama told reporters when asked if he plans to resign.

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