Broken military base promise damages Japanese government

This video from Japan is called ANN News Report on the Protest in Ginowan, Okinawa.

From AFP news agency:

Socialists quit Japan coalition over US base row

1 hour ago

TOKYO — Japan’s small socialist party Sunday walked out of the ruling coalition in a row over a US military base in Okinawa, heaping pressure on embattled Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama ahead of July elections.

The move came after Hatoyama on Friday dismissed Social Democratic Party (SDP) leader Mizuho Fukushima as his consumer affairs minister.

Fukushima had denounced Hatoyama’s decision to retain the Marine base despite a pre-election promise by the centre-left prime minister to move it off Okinawa island, where the US military presence is hugely unpopular.

“We decided to leave the government at an executive meeting,” Fukushima told a televised news conference. “Everybody told me it was good that I have stuck to my beliefs,” she said.

The SDP has only minimal representation in parliament. But Hatoyama’s Democratic Party of Japan, which dominates the key lower house, needs the help of other parties to secure a majority in the upper house.

The SDP’s departure could further damage Hatoyama’s standing as his approval ratings hover at all-time lows of around 20 percent before the July elections, in which half of the upper house seats will be contested.

6 thoughts on “Broken military base promise damages Japanese government

  1. Japan’s Social Democrats vote to leave coalition

    Isabel Reynolds

    Sun May 30, 2010 3:46am EDT

    TOKYO (Reuters) – The tiny Social Democratic Party decided on Sunday to leave Japan’s ruling coalition, an official said, after the prime minister dismissed its leader from his cabinet for opposing a deal to keep a U.S. Marine base on Okinawa.

    The decision was made at a meeting of the party’s senior officials, Minoru Hosoda, secretary general of the party’s federation in Shimane Prefecture, told reporters.

    The departure of the SDP would be a blow to Hatoyama, already seen by voters as a weak leader, damaging his Democratic Party’s chances of winning a majority in an upper house election expected in July. It needs an upper house majority to pass bills smoothly.

    But the SDP’s departure would not force the Democrats out of power since they boast a massive majority in parliament’s more powerful lower house.

    On Friday, Hatoyama dismissed SDP leader Mizuho Fukushima from her cabinet post after she refused to sign off on a U.S.-Japan deal to move a U.S. Marine base on the southern island of Okinawa from a city center to a less heavily populated area.

    Hatoyama raised hopes during his successful election campaign last year that the Futenma base could be moved out of Okinawa entirely, and abandoning that pledge has angered not only the SDP, but local residents as well.

    Coalition and opposition parties called for Hatoyama to resign for failing to keep his promise on Futenma or to meet a self-imposed, end-of-May deadline for finding a solution acceptable to all the parties.

    He said on Saturday he would stay on. Some in his own party think he should step down, but time is short for replacing him ahead of the upper house poll, expected on July 11.

    Hatoyama’s government is seen to have wobbled on a range of promises, from cash allowances for parents of young children to abolishing highway tolls, as it struggles to nurture a fragile economic recovery while reining in ballooning public debt.


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