Ozawa allies opt to keep key jobs

by Masami Ito

Staff Writer

Four of the five Democratic Party of Japan lawmakers who hold government posts Friday withdrew the resignations they submitted as part of a revolt against Prime Minister Naoto Kan.

Kan met with the four separately Friday morning and persuaded them to remain in their posts. However, the four will likely face harsh criticism for their willingness to abdicate their ministerial responsibilities at a time when the government is dealing with the aftermath of March 11, including the ongoing Fukushima nuclear crisis.

Welcoming their decision, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano said: “They each may have had their own reasons . . . but they all have been doing a good job in dealing with the disaster as vice ministers and parliamentary secretaries. I think it is desirable that they continue so as to avoid disruption to disaster relief measures.”

The five lawmakers had been ready to bring Kan down, together with party kingpin Ichiro Ozawa, by supporting a no-confidence vote submitted by opposition parties Thursday.