TOKYO (MNI) – Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama told senior
ruling party officials that he will resign, NHK public television
reported on Wednesday.

Hatoyama has been under fire to step down from within his own
Democratic Party of Japan after the Social Democrats left the ruling
coalition due to policy differences over the relocation of a
controversial U.S. air base on the southern island of Okinawa.

The public approval rating of the administration has plunged in the
past several months after the prime minister showed what many voters
thought was a lack of leadership and broken election campaign promises.

The departure of the small coalition partner is complicating the
passage of bills in the Upper House of parliament where the DPJ only has
a majority with support of its allies.

This has prompted some DPJ lawmakers in the chamber to call for
Hatoyama’s resignation before House of Councillors elections expected
in July.

Before the House of Representatives elections last August,
Hatoyama, who heads the Democratic Party of Japan, promised to relocate
the key U.S. air base on Okinawa somewhere outside the prefecture or
even outside the country. Months later Hatoyama found that the U.S.
government would not agree to such an idea.

The DPJ scored a landslide win in the elections on voters’
disappointment with the lack of leadership under the Liberal Democratic
Party. But several months after taking power away from the LDP, Hatoyama
has been criticized for not being able to make up his mind on key policy

Public support for the DPJ government has declined also because of
political funding scandals involving both Hatoyama and Ichiro Ozawa, the
conservative politician who is number two at the DPJ and has been the
driving force behind major election wins for the party.
** Market News International Tokyo Newsroom: 81-3-5403-4833 **

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