06/02/2010, 00.00
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Japan, Prime Minister Hatoyama resigns

The Prime Minister was unable to move the American air base stationed in Okinawa, as he promised during the election campaign, and resigned. On June 4 the primaries of the Democratic Party for choosing the new leader.

Tokyo (AsiaNews / Agencies) - Nine months after victory in national elections, Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama has resigned in the wake of the controversy over the U.S. military airbase in Okinawa. Hatoyama, a 63 year old millionaire from a prominent family - enough to be known as the "Kennedy of Japan" - has announced his resignation during a meeting of the Democratic Party of Japan. "I resign – he told his audience - and I will work to create a new Democratic Party."

"The work of the government - said Hatoyama – does not reflect the wishes of the people. I apologize to all of you for having created enormous problems. " Friday, June 4 his party will vote for a new leader: predictions indicate the current finance minister, Naoto Kan. Meanwhile, Japanese Finance Minister will not attend the G20 summit scheduled to be held in South Korea

Hatoyama’s consensus has suffered a steep fall in recent months: from 70% the leader has fallen to below 20% in the wake of its policy of loosening ties with the United States to forge stronger relations with Asian countries, creating a lot of ill-feeling among the population. In particular, Hatoyama had promised to move the U.S. military air base outside the island of Okinawa to Japan to meet the protests of the population, disturbed by the aircraft engines.

But not being able to find an alternative location for the base, Hatoyama then decided not to move it to another area on the island, causing irritation among the population and social democrats, who left the coalition government weakening the executive chamber of the Parliament ahead of elections on 11 July. Given this situation, the secretary general of the Democratic Party of Japan, the influential Ichiro Ozawa, asked Hatotoyama to take a step back.  

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See also
Government change in Tokyo baffles politicians, worries ordinary people
Support for Hatoyama government plummets
Tokyo, the U.S. base remains on the island of Okinawa
Okinawans’ anger against Tokyo boils over
Okinawa: Protests against US bases in 50th year
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