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Japan PM Rejects Pressure to Reshuffle Government
Source: google.com
Source Date: Saturday, December 04, 2010
Focus: Public Administration Schools, Thematic Website, Institution and HR Management
Country: Japan
Created: Dec 06, 2010

TOKYO — Japan's Prime Minister Naoto Kan said Friday he would not give in to mounting pressure to reshuffle his government in an effort to rebuild his eroding power base.

"I don't think about it at all," Kan told reporters when asked about the possibility of him revamping his cabinet line-up before the country's divided parliament convenes a regular session in January.

His centre-left Democratic Party of Japan dominates the key lower house of parliament while the opposition camp, led by the conservative Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), has a majority in the upper chamber.

The opposition censured two ministers from Kan's cabinet in the upper house last week for what it called their insufficient action in a recent territorial spat with China.

The censure motions dealt a blow to the embattled premier, whose public support has plunged below 30 percent.

In what were seen as inconsistent decisions, Japan arrested and released a Chinese captain in September for ramming his trawler against two Japanese coastguard patrol ships in disputed waters.

Japanese prosecutors released the captain after Beijing cut political, economic and cultural exchanges, but the row has continued to simmer and nationalists in both countries have staged protests.

Although the censure motions against Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshito Sengoku and Transport Minister Sumio Mabuchi were non-binding, the opposition has since been demanding they be sacked.

The LDP has threatened to boycott parliament sessions unless the two ministers step down.

Even Kan's predecessor, Yukio Hatoyama, suggested the ruling party should directly respond to the LDP's demand to avoid any political stalemate at a time when the government wants to draft the state budget for the next fiscal year.

"It is necessary for us to seriously consider what to do with the ministers who have been censured," Hatoyama told reporters.

But Foreign Minister Seiji Maehara told a regular news conference he was uncertain if a government shake-up alone could help the ruling party "tide over" until the January parliamentary session.
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