Voting on no-confidence motion against Japan's PM begins

15:09, June 02, 2011      

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The voting starts Thursday on a no-confidence motion against Japan's embattled PM Naoto Kan, whose cabinet's public support is faltering over the way it handled the Fukushima nuclear crisis and postquake work.

Before the vote in the afternoon, Kan told a meeting of his ruling Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) he will step down after making some achievements in postquake recovery and settling down the Fukushima nuclear crisis.

"Once the post-quake reconstruction efforts achieves some settlement, I will pass on my responsibility to younger generations," he said. "The nuclear crisis is ongoing, and I will make my utmost efforts to end the crisis and move forward with post-quake reconstruction works."

Japan's opposition parties submitted a no-confidence motion against Kan Wednesday. Some junior cabinet members from the DPJ resigned Wednesday so they could support the opposition move.

If the motion clears the lower house, the cabinet must either resign or dissolve the chamber and hold a fresh election.

Even if the motion fails, Japan's ruling party is set to split, further thwarting efforts to implement policies in a divided parliament, including politically sensitive tax reforms which is key to revitalize the economy.

The DPJ and its coalition parties control the more powerful lower house. A total of 82 votes from the ruling camp on top of opposition votes would win the no-confidence motion in the 480-seat house. Dozens of lawmakers of the former DPJ kingpin Ichiro Ozawa, a rival of Kan, have vowed to vote in favor of the motion.

However, former Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama, who leads a major group in the ruling party, told his followers he agreed with the Kan's plan to step down after the outlook for an extra budget to fund rebuilding quake-hit areas was clear.

Kan had asked the DPJ lawmakers who are undecided not to support the motion, saying it is not the time for Japan to be engaged in political power struggle. Local media said many DPJ rebels are inclined to support party unity at a time when the country is trying to recover from the worst disasters in decades.

Kan became prime minister just one year ago. He already is Japan's fifth leader in four years.

Source: Xinhua
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