Prime Minister Kan Survives No Confidence Vote, Suggests He Will Resign After Resolving Earthquake Response

Kan and Hatoyama at Party Meeting June 2
Prime Minister Kan speaking at the DPJ Diet representatives’ meeting. In the foreground, the late-arriving former PM Yukio Hatoyama. Photo taken on the afternoon of June 2 by Masatomo Motoyuki.

Prime Minister Kan Suggests He Will Resign After Resolving Earthquake Response
Yomiuri Shimbun: 菅首相、震災対応メドついた段階での退陣示唆
June 2, 2011, 2:30 PM

Prime Minister Naoto Kan (Democratic Party of Japan) suggested during a meeting of the party’s congressional representatives on the 2nd that after determining the national government’s response to the earthquake, he will step down from his position.

The Prime Minister realized that even if the vote of no confidence presented by three minority parties and supported by former DPJ leader Ichiro Ozawa and former Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama (also of the DPJ) were rejected, he would have difficulty running the government going forward, and he would also split the party. Mr. Kan is considering stepping down from his position after the earthquake recovery policies and emergency budget revision are finished this summer.

The Liberal Democratic Party is still demanding that Kan resign immediately, and they will bring their no-confidence measure to a vote in the Lower House (30-60 minutes later than planned). With only the minority parties’ support, however, it would be rejected. [And it was.]

At the party representative meeting starting at lunch said that his response to the no-confidence measure, which he thought showed his leadership is insufficient, is that (1) he will continue to put his entire body and soul into the earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear disaster response; (2) the DPJ must not be splintered; (3) he will not hand power over to the Liberal Democratic Party. He said, “after organizing and deciding the disaster response, I would like to hand the reins over to the younger generation.”

Former Prime Minister Hatoyama said that Mr. Kan had told him during a private meeting at the Prime Minister’s residence the same morning that he would “give himself up completely in order to quickly organize the disaster response and complete the second revision to the national budget.”

The Prime Minister and Mr. Hatoyama confirmed that they exchanged a three-item memorandum after communicating with Defense Minister Hokuzawa and former Cultural Minister Hirano as well as Chief Cabinet Secretary Edano and Chief Party Secretary Okada on the night of the 1st.

After hearing the Prime Minister’s announcement, Mr. Hatoyama announced at the party meeting that he would oppose the no-confidence measure. The Ozawa faction decided its members would vote independently. Mr. Ozawa said to his allies, “since we’ve all just heard something that was never brought up until now, vote freely.”

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