Japan's PM decides to keep party rebels in cabinet

Updated: 2011-06-03 15:17


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TOKYO - Japan's Prime Minister Naoto Kan has decided to keep four cabinet members who submitted their letters of resignation earlier this week saying that they would vote against Kan in a no-confidence vote at parliament, Japanese media reported Friday.

Kan told the four of his decision during a meeting at the premier's office. The four were Katsumasa Suzuki, senior vice internal affairs minister, Wakio Mitsui, senior vice transport minister, Shozo Azuma, senior vice minister in the Cabinet Office, and Takeshi Hidaka, parliamentary environment secretary, Kyodo News Agency said.

The ruling Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) lawmakers who are close to Kan's rival Ichiro Ozawa challenged Kan on Wednesday, saying they would back a no-confidence motion against the Kan cabinet that was submitted to parliament by the opposition camp the same day. But the four voted against the motion Thursday.

Kan survived the no-confidence vote after he said he would step down once the country's recovery from the great earthquake and tsunami takes hold at a party meeting just before the vote.

However, ruling and opposition lawmakers slammed Kan on Friday, as he hinted that he would remain in power until around January, when the crippled Fukushima No 1 nuclear power plant reaches the target of being under control.

Kan's predecessor Yukio Hatoyama, who supported the premier and voted against the no-confidence motion on Thursday on condition that Kan would quit soon, denounced Kan for backpedaling on his word, saying Kan "should not act like a crook".

Hatoyama threatened to "take action", saying he will call for a general assembly of all DPJ lawmakers from both houses of parliament to grill Kan if he refuses to heed calls for his early resignation.


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