Japanese PM Quits Over Okinawa Base

Hatoyama cites failure to move US base as reason for resigning
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 1, 2010 10:41 PM CDT
Japan's Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama bows after speaking to lawmakers yesterday.   (AP Photo/Kyodo News)
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(Newser) – Japan's Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama is stepping down after just 8 months in office. Hatoyama—whose plunging approval ratings ahead of an election expected to be held in July put him under intense pressure from his Democratic Party of Japan to step down—said he was quitting because of a broken campaign promise to move a US Marine base off the island of Okinawa, Reuters reports.

Analysts say Hatoyama's failure to rein in government spending as expected left him badly weakened even before the Okinawa issue caused one of his party's coalition partners to depart. Naoto Kan, Japan's fiscally conservative deputy prime minister and finance minister, is widely expected to succeed Hatoyama in a leadership contest the party says it plans to hold within days, the Wall Street Journal reports.

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