TOKYO – Prime Minister Naoto Kan announced today he was resigning after almost 15 months in office amid plunging approval ratings over his government’s handling of the tsunami disaster and nuclear crisis.
In a nationally televised speech, Kan said he was stepping down as chief of the ruling Democratic Party of Japan, effectively ending his tenure as leader of the country.
The decision was widely expected because in June, Kan had promised to quit once lawmakers passed three key pieces of legislation. The final two bills cleared the parliament earlier today.
The Democrats will vote Monday for a new leader, who will almost certainly become Japan’s next prime minister – the sixth since 2006.
Former Foreign Minister Seiji Maehara is viewed as the front-runner to replace him.