Tokyo (AFP) May 1, 2011
Japan's unpopular Prime Minister Naoto Kan pleaded for public "understanding" Sunday after a poll showed three-quarters of people questioned his leadership and handling of the post-disaster crisis.
In a weekend telephone survey by Kyodo news agency, 76 percent of 1,010 respondents believed Kan was "not exercising leadership" in dealing with the March 11 quake and tsunami and the ensuing crisis at a nuclear power plant.
Some 24 percent wanted the prime minister to "resign immediately", up from 14 percent in a similar poll conducted two weeks after the disaster that left 26,000 people dead or missing, and crippled the Fukushima atomic plant.
Kan has even come under pressure to step down from within his centre-left Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) following its heavy losses in two rounds of local elections last month.
"People may feel that the government is acting slowly in various aspects and they may have lingering fears in various aspects. I can understand their feelings," Kan said in parliament Sunday.
"At the same time, I can say that the government for its part has been doing its utmost... if not in a perfect manner. I want to call on the people to understand this."
He was answering questions from a member of the conservative opposition before the upper house budget committee which was discussing a 4.0 trillion yen ($49 billion) extra budget to help fund post-disaster reconstruction.
Both the ruling bloc as well as major opposition parties are expected to give the final nod to the budget on Monday.
At May Day rallies in Tokyo, trade unions confederations called for an end to nuclear power generation.
"Let us join our hands in switching Japan's society off from nuclear power," Social Democratic Party leader Mizuho Fukushima told one rally.
Even before the catastrophe, Kan's approval rating had slumped below 20 percent, its lowest since he took office in June last year. And on the day the tsunami hit, he was facing calls to quit over a donations scandal.
Since the disaster, Kan has been criticised for being slow in taking steps to distribute relief goods and cash donations and for not preventing the stricken Fukushima plant from leaking radiation in the worst nuclear accident since Chernobyl.
His initial move to set up 20 advisory groups to deal with the crisis has been ridiculed as showing his incompetence as a national leader.
Under Kan's prodding, the plant's operator, Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO), announced a roadmap in mid-April to put the plant's reactors into a "cold shutdown" within six to nine months.
Although its feasibility has been widely questioned, the premier told the committee: "It was me who has ordered the roadmap to be drawn up."
"I am trying to expedite the project to let all the (evacuated) people settle themselves in temporary housing, if they wish, by Obon (a Buddhist holiday in early August)," said Kan.
Kan's DPJ swept to power in an electoral landslide in 2009, ending half a century of almost unbroken conservative rule and winning a vast majority in the key lower house.
But the premier's backing for a higher consumer tax led the DPJ to defeat in an upper house election last July before a string of poor showing in local polls.
Share This Article With Planet Earth
Bringing Order To A World Of Disasters
A world of storm and tempest
When the Earth Quakes
Managua (AFP) April 30, 2011
Soldiers evicted hundreds of Nicaraguans on Saturday from buildings damaged in a 1972 earthquake, as part of a government plan to demolish the decaying structures. Families will be relocated to homes in a neighborhood near Lake Managua, also known as Lake Xolotlan, north of the capital, Lieutenant Colonel Mauricio Contreras told AFP. It was the second eviction this month from the half-do ... read more
Day of prayer as US south mourns tornado victims|
New material could improve safety for first responders to chemical hazards
Japan passes 4 trillion yen disaster relief budget
Japan PM on defensive over disaster leadership
Researchers Find More Efficient Way To Steer Laser Beams
Chinese pay price for world's rare earths addiction
Chile finds radioactive traces in Korean cars
Slim new BlackBerry models join smartphone wars
Brazil hits back in anger over dam protest
New biomass data reveals fish stocks more stable than believed
Filthy toilets a blight on Asian prosperity
'Million-dollar sharks' boon to eco-tourism: report
Calling all candidates for Concordia
Melting ice on Arctic islands a major player in sea level rise
ESA-NASA Collaboration Furthers Sea-Ice Research
Melting ice on Arctic islands boosts sea levels: study
WWF welcomes first Bulgaria ban on Danube sturgeon fishing
How the fruit fly made its way out of Africa
Genetic study says China source of rice
Scorpion venom bad for bugs but good for pesticides
Japan mulls tsunami lessons for reconstruction
Ecuador on alert after volcano erupts
Forecasters predict multiple US hurricane landfalls
Rain is Colombia's 'worst' natural disaster: Santos
Chinese army gives rocket launchers, weapons to Sierra Leone
Disaster-hit Japan will not cut aid to Africa: spokesman
Diehard pro-Gbagbo militia begin to disarm
Darfur rebels reject draft Doha accord
From day one the brain knows the difference between night and day
Media multitasking is really multi-distracting
Grandma was right Infants do wake up taller
Pain and itch connected down deep
|The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2010 - SpaceDaily. AFP and UPI Wire Stories are copyright Agence France-Presse and United Press International. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by SpaceDaily on any Web page published or hosted by SpaceDaily. Privacy Statement|