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Naoto Kan is designated PM of Japan

Kan emerged as the successor to Yukio Hatoyama after his resignation as Prime Minister and DPJ leader and the resignation of Hatoyama’s backer in the party, DPJ Secretary General Ichiro Ozawa.

Naoto Kan 菅 直人

Foreign minister Katsuya Okada and transportation minister Seiji Maehara were also considered possible successor to Hatoyama immediately after the latter’s announcement, but both quickly announced support for Kan.

Another less well known contender, Shinji Tarutoko, a legislator who leads the environmental policy committee in the lower house of Parliament, was defeated.

He gained national popularity in 1996 when as health minister he exposed the minister’s responsibility for the spread of tainted blood.

At that time, he was a member of a small party forming the ruling coalition with the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP). His action was completely unprecedented and was applauded by the mainstream media and the public.

Japan’ PM resign over US Marine base in Okinawa

Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama resigned today, following a controversial move regarding a US military base.

Hatoyama told a news conference broadcast nationwide that he will step down after a broken campaign promise to move a US Marine base off the southern island of Okinawa. The decision to resign followed poor poll ratings for Japan’s Democratic Party in an upcoming parliamentary election.

Members of the party have called for Hatoyama’s resignation in order to preserve their chances of victory in the election. He is expected to formally resign before a meeting of party leaders today. Read More…

On this day May 22, 1980

Pac-Man (パックマン, ), an arcade game that became virtually synonymous with video games and an icon of 1980s popular culture, made its debut in Japan.

Original arcade version

Original arcade version

Developed by Namco and licensed for distribution in the U.S. by Midway, was immensely popular in the United States from its original release to the present day, Pac-Man is universally considered as one of the classics of the medium, virtually synonymous with video games, and an icon of 1980s popular culture.

Upon its release, the game—and, subsequently, its derivatives—became a social phenomenon that sold a bevy of merchandise and also inspired, among other things, an animated television series and music. Read More…

Mass rally in Japan against US military base

A protest on the Japanese island of Okinawa calling for the closure of a United States military base attracted almost 100,000 people on Sunday, after speculations that the Japanese government may back out of an election promise to force it off the island entirely.

The base, Marine Corps Air Station Futenma, has been long criticized by the Japanese people, as it and other bases on the island have served as the location for most of America’s 47,000 troops stationed in Japan. The US military presence on the island is seen by some as a legacy of Japan’s defeat in World War II by the US.

Japan’s current prime minister, Yukio Hatoyama, pledged to move the base off of Okinawa entirely, and transfer 8,000 military personnel to Guam, superseding a 2006 agreement between the Japanese and American governments to move the base to a less urbanized part of Okinawa.

Hatoyama said that he would make a decision about the matter by the end of May, and on Friday told Parliament that he would “stake his job” to do so. Opposition leaders in Japan have demanded that Hatoyama should resign as Prime Minister if he does not make a decision by the end of May. Read More…

Nuclear Security Summit

President Barack Obama open the 47-nation Nuclear Security Summit in Washington.  The president says he wants new commitments to secure weapons-grade plutonium and uranium to prevent nuclear terrorism.

With concerns about the nuclear ambitions of Iran and North Korea a major backdrop to the conference, this is the biggest U.S.-sponsored gathering of world leaders in more than 60 years.

The New START treaty was signed on April 8, 2010 in Prague by U.S. President Obama and Russian President Medvedev and Iran will hold the Tehran International Conference on Disarmament and Non- Proliferation, 2010, announced on April 4, 2010 and to be held April 17–18, 2010.

The Summit is the largest gathering of heads of state called by a United States president since the 1945 United Nations Conference on International Organization. Delegations from forty-six governments plus the United States are attending, thirty-eight of which are represented by heads of state or government. Read More…

Japan Airlines to file for bankruptcy

Japan Airlines (JAL), Asia’s largest airline, is expected to file for bankruptcy protection on Tuesday, bringing an end to months of speculation about the airline’s financial future, riddled by debt.

JAL Boeing 747-300

The bankruptcy filing, should it go ahead, is to be followed by a restructuring program, backed by the government, intended to trim down the airline, firing a third of its employees, and removing some routes from its schedule.

JAL stock has fallen by over ninety percent in the last few days, due to the financial uncertainty of the airline. Shares for JAL were trading as low as US$0.05 earlier today at the Tokyo stock exchange. Read More…

Hatoyama formally elected Japanese PM

Yukio Hatoyama was formally elected the prime minister of Japan on Wednesday, following general elections in August.

The Japanese Parliament convened on Wednesday for a special session to formally elect Hatoyama. The former Prime Minister, Taro Aso, and his cabinet had earlier resigned.

At his first press conference as PM, Hatoyama said: “The moment I was elected prime minister, I trembled deeply when I realised that Japanese history was changing. I also felt a strong sense of responsibility knowing that I must lead the change of this country to one where the people are sovereign.” Read More…