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Entries in Naoto Kan (4)

Monday
Aug292011

Japan's Ruling Party Selects Finance Minister as New PM

Tomohiro Ohsumi/Bloomberg via Getty Images (TOKYO) -- Just days after Naoto Kan stepped down as Japan's prime minister, the country's ruling party voted on Monday to select its new leader.

The Democratic Party of Japan chose Finance Minister Yoshihiko Noda, who was considered a favorite to win, to step in as Kan's successor.

Noda will become the country's sixth prime minister in five years.  Parliament will vote on Tuesday to make the transition official.

Last Friday, Kan officially resigned after facing mounting criticism over the government's slow response to Japan's triple disasters -- the March earthquake and tsunami, and the nuclear crisis that ensued when the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant was crippled.

Kan had announced his intention to step down in June but held off on the resignation until parliament passed a renewable energy bill that reduces the country's reliance on nuclear energy and a budget financing bill.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Friday
Aug262011

Japanese Prime Minister Officially Steps Down

Sankei via Getty Images(TOKYO) -- Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan officially stepped down from his post Friday, setting up the country to elect its sixth prime minister in five years.

Kan announced his intention to resign in June amid mounting criticism over the government's slow response to Japan's triple disasters -- the March earthquake and tsunami, and the nuclear crisis that ensued when the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant was crippled.

He held off on the resignation until parliament passed a renewable energy bill that reduces the country's reliance on nuclear energy and a budget financing bill.  Both were passed earlier, paving the way for him to leave office.

Kan steps down as Japan's prime minister after being in office for just over a year.  Despite his short term, he held the leadership post longer than any of the previous four prime ministers.

Japan's ruling party, the Democratic Party of Japan, is expected to vote for its sixth leader on Monday.  Former Foreign Minister Seiji Maehara and current Finance Minister Yoshihiko Noda are considered the favorites to win.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Jun022011

Japanese Prime Minister Signals Resignation

Sankei via Getty Images(TOKYO) -- Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan, facing a no-confidence vote in Parliament, signaled Thursday that he would step down once disaster reconstruction efforts take hold.

While the leader gave no timeline for his resignation, he called on members of his ruling Democratic Party of Japan to keep him in office so he can take "responsibility for the situation."

"Once I've fulfilled my role, I would like to pass on the responsibility to a younger generation," Kan said in a nationally televised meeting of DPJ lawmakers.  "Until we can reach that point, I ask that you allow me to fulfill my responsibility."

Kan's plea comes amid mounting criticism over his handling of Japan's worst-ever natural disaster.  Nearly three months after the magnitude 9.0 earthquake and tsunami triggered a nuclear crises at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, reactors continue to spew radiation and leak contaminated water.

More than 20,000 people are either dead or missing along the northeastern coast in the Tohoku region, while 80,000 people have been evacuated from their homes because of radiation concerns.  Plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Co. and Kan's government has been criticized for what many consider a slow response to the disasters.

On Wednesday, the main opposition Liberal Democratic party, the New Komeito party, and the Sunrise Party of Japan submitted a motion to the Lower House, calling for a no-confidence vote against Kan.  The Prime Minister is expected to survive that vote, scheduled for Thursday afternoon, but the debate over his leadership threatens to strain the ruling party further at a time when the country faces its largest rebuilding effort since World War II.

The no-confidence comes exactly one year after previous Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama stepped down over his handling of a U.S. military base in Okinawa.  Japan has gone through four prime ministers in the last four years.  None have lasted more than 12 months on the job.´╗┐

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Saturday
Mar262011

Japan: Power Company Apologizes for Radiation Burns to Workers

STR/AFP/Getty Images(TOKYO) -- Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) on Saturday issued an apology for not giving its employees proper warning about the degree of radiation risk they faced.

The apology follows a report that water which caused radiation burns to the legs and feet of three workers at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant was 10,000 times more radioactive than normal. TEPCO apologized for knowing about the radiation risk its employees faced, yet not telling them about it.

In a statement, TEPCO officials said “If we had given (the employees) the heads up thoroughly, we would have been able to avoid their exposure to the radiation at this time. We regret our lack of communication.”

Nuclear experts say the water at the Fukushima Daiichi plant could only reach those levels if it had come into contact with uranium, meaning a breach of the core was almost certain. There are also reports that a high level of radiation has been found in sea water near the plant.

The government is attempting to stay on top of the situation by encouraging TEPCO to provide them with as much information as possible.

Government officials claim the situation at Reactor 1 is stable and does not appear to be getting worse, however, they anticipate that it would be a “long time” before the crisis is over. Government officials also say they will.

On Friday, Prime Minister Naoto Kan Friday called the situation "grave and serious."

"We are not in a position to be optimistic," Kan said. "We must remain vigilant. We must treat every development with the utmost care."

The death toll in Japan stands at an estimated 10,175 people, while over 17,000 people are reportedly still missing following the 9.0-magnitude earthquake and resulting tsunami in Japan on March 11.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio´╗┐







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