June 3, 2010, midnight
Japanese Prime Minister Yukio HATOYAMA, leader of the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ), resigned on Wednesday, making him the fourth Japanese PM to resign in the last two years. HATOYAMA's resignation stems from his failure to fulfill an election promise to relocate a US airbase off Okinawa. DPJ leadership elections will take place on Friday, and the current favorite to replace HATYOYAMA is Finance Minister Naoto KAN. The only other DPJ member to publicly state an interest in the position has been Shinji TARUDOKO, the chair of the party's environmental panel. The DPJ took power last August in a landslide election victory that ended more than a half century of nearly constant Liberal Democratic Party rule. Since then, however, the DPJ's popularity has plummeted. Japan will hold elections to its upper house, the House of Councillors, next month.